Marisa Johnson

Student Success Initiatives Program Manager
Sacramento Office


Alma mater(s): University of Portland, and hopefully Tulane University soon.
Your role in one sentence: My role is to ensure policy initiatives are implemented successfully to help set students and the state up for success.
When I am not at work helping students get to and succeed in college I am…spending time with family, traveling, or crafting something.
If not higher education, then what cause? Something related to emergency preparedness and environmental justice or migrant rights and migrant justice.

Formal Bio:
Marisa was born and raised in Hollister, California. A farming town in Central California. From a young age, the importance of higher education was made clear to Marisa. Her mother was a first-generation student and the only one out of her siblings to graduate from college. Not only did her mother explain the transformative power higher education can have, but Marisa experienced this firsthand by seeing the economic disparities among her own family. Witnessing these financial differences in her family Marisa went to college searching for answers as to why such disparities happen.

Marisa attended the University of Portland to pursue her undergraduate degree. As a student, Marisa interned with Unite Oregon, a non-profit intercultural movement for justice across Oregon. She also worked at her school in the Diversity and Inclusion Programs, helping to create a campus that furthers the success of all students. After graduating Marisa moved to Sacramento and became a Policy Fellow with the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Marisa decided to expand her knowledge in emergency preparedness and grow her skills in community work. She was accepted into Tulane University School of Social Work in the dual degree program and is currently a Master’s in Social Work and MS- Disaster Resiliency Leadership candidate.

Marisa earned her B.A. in Social Work with a minor in fine arts. She is currently a Master’s in Social Work and MS- Disaster Resiliency Leadership candidate. She currently resides in New Orleans.