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Marissa is a PhD student interested in African American women’s labor, the Great Migration, vice, and reform movements in the Progressive Era. In particular, she is interested in the ways African American women were subjected to surveillance and increased policing following the passage of the Mann Act in 1910. Her interest in African American women’s history, migration, and urban history is inspired by her grandmother, Elsie Mae Moss, who was a restaurant owner and entrepreneur in Chicago after she moved to the city from Louisiana during the mid-twentieth century.
Marissa worked for the Indiana University Bicentennial Project for two years where she completed research projects about Indiana University, collected oral histories, and created public history displays. Since moving to Chicago, she has worked as a research associate for the Chicago History Museum. Marissa entered the PhD program at UIC in Fall 2019, and she is also completing a concentration in Black Studies. Her advisor is Dr. Cynthia Blair.
2019–2024, Graduate College Pipeline to an Inclusive Faculty (PIF) Fellowship, University of Illinois at Chicago
2019, Kate Hevner Mueller Outstanding Senior Award, Indiana University Bloomington
2017, 2018, Study Abroad Award, Indiana University Bloomington Office of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs
2017, William M. Locke Prize, Indiana University Bloomington Department of History
Indiana University Bloomington
BA, History with Honors and Distinction, 2019
“Reflecting on My Undergraduate Research and Applying for Graduate School,” keynote speaker at Leadership Alliance closing ceremony at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 2019.
Panelist, You Can Study Abroad Too: Overcoming Your Fear, Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs Study Abroad Panel, Bloomington, Indiana, 2018.
“‘The Negro harlot:’ Examining the Racial Dimensions of Policing in the Historic Vice Districts of Chicago (1920-1940),” Leadership Alliance National Symposium, Hartford, Connecticut, 2018.
“‘The Negro harlot:’ Examining the Racial Dimensions of Policing in the Historic Vice Districts of Chicago (1920-1940),” the University of Chicago Humanities and Social Sciences Symposium, Chicago, Illinois, 2018.
Discussant, Creative and Critical Pedagogies: Roundtable, Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society (CRRES) Graduate Student Research Symposium, Bloomington, Indiana, 2018.
“History of Office of the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs Overseas Study Programs,” Indiana University Office of the Bicentennial Intern Open House, Bloomington, Indiana, 2018.
“Race & Respectability Politics in Black Femininity (1865-1920),” Indiana University Department of History Honors Symposium, Bloomington, Indiana, 2018.
Panelist, All Inclusive: Pedagogy for a Diverse University, Indiana University Department of History’s Diversity Committee and Historical Teaching & Practice, Bloomington, Indiana, 2018.
Research Currently in Progress
Marissa’s current research explores the experiences of African American women who were surveilled by the Committee of Fifteen, a reform group appointed to investigate organized prostitution in Chicago between 1909-1927.