We wanted to get to know more about Marissa, so here are some fun questions that Marissa answered for us. We can’t wait to continue to get to know Marissa more and learn from her!
What made you decide to become a pathologists’ assistant?
When I was in undergrad I was first exposed to the PA profession when I had a professor who was a PA teach a forensic pathology course. I immediately knew that rather than becoming a medical examiner (which was my plan at the time) that being a PA seemed like a better fit for me - I was more interested in grossing and autopsy than I was looking at slides.
I really love that we are behind the scenes health care professionals. The work we do is so critical for patient care but is not really understood by those outside of our profession. I enjoy knowing the value of the work we provide, as well as the opportunity to expose and educate others about it.
Is there a particular case or specimen type that stands out to you as your favorite or most memorable? How about least favorite?
I have a hard time saying an overall favorite because I love so many specimens! I love grossing as well as anatomy so larger, complex specimens are the most fun to me. If I had to choose I would have to pick whipples, bladders, and breast specimens. For benign specimens, I love gallbladders because I have a serious obsession with gallstones. I love the crystalized ones that almost resemble geodes! If I really have to choose a least favorite I would say sebaceous skin cysts.
What do you hope to bring to Tulane’s program?
I hope that my passion for pathology, anatomy, and education allows for students to be engaged and enthusiastic. I get so excited talking about anatomy, pathology, and patient care - I hope to get the students equally as enthused! Working at multiple institutions and in different roles over the years has allowed me to learn different ways of approaching grossing and handling specimens, as well as other aspects of the PA profession like management and teaching. Sharing those experiences in conjunction with the experiences of the other faculty members will provide a wider variety of information to our students as to what our profession is all about.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I have been to 43 of the 50 states in the US!
What’s been the biggest adjustment from Connecticut to New Orleans so far?
I have been fortunate to live coast to coast and experience different lifestyles the United States has to offer, so adjusting to a new region has thankfully not been difficult. The one big adjustment so far has been recovering from hurricane Ida and knowing that hurricanes like Ida can and will happen again during my time here. Ensuring my family and I are fully prepared for storms like that in the future is really important and something we did not have to do in Connecticut, as hurricanes are definitely not as frequent and not as aggressive there.
Favorite movie? Color? Type of music?
My favorite movies are “When Harry Met Sally…” and “Bad Teacher”. I love the colors green and gray and most genres of music! But these days I listen to true crime podcasts more often than I do the radio.
Do you have any pets?
I have three pets! I have a French Bulldog named Autumn, an Icelandic Sheepdog/Collie mix named Bailey, and a tabby cat named Cheddar!
Pathology is a critical part of medicine and is frequently misunderstood and underappreciated because it is not patient facing. Being able to expose students (and those who want to learn outside of the classroom) to anatomic pathology and get them interested and excited about it makes me beam with happiness! I am so excited to be here and share my experiences, knowledge, and passion with the future of our profession! I am proud to be a member of the Tulane Department of Pathology and look forward to getting to know all of you!