Carissa grew up in Saugerties, NY and attended the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she majored in Music Therapy and minored in Psychology. She went on to earn a Master's Degree in Special Education and Literacy from the State University of New York at Albany.
While employed as a special education teacher in the Capital District, Carissa enlisted into the New York Army National Guard in 2012. After her Initial Entry Training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, Carissa accepted a position with the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force. Her most recent position had her assigned to Homeland Security Investigations in NYC, as a Criminal Analyst. Carissa's military service also took her overseas, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Inherent Resolve, and Operation Spartan Shield. As the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the 369th Sustainment Brigade's Intelligence section, Carissa was responsible for the research, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence related to the Central Command countries. Aside from her NCOIC and intelligence obligations, Carissa volunteered to help with the design and delivery of the Brigade's leadership development program. In June 2019, Carissa transferred to the 69th Infantry Battalion in NYC, where she has assumed the role of intelligence NCOIC. There, she trains junior enlisted Soldiers in basic Soldier skills and intelligence processes, while mentoring Soldiers to become future leaders. Carissa also conducts in-depth analysis, which she briefs to the Company and Battalion Command Teams in order to provide timely and relevant information, pertinent to the Command decision-making process.
Carissa's awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and Army Service Ribbon.
Carissa is an avid fitness athlete and nature lover. You can often find her spending time in the gym, taking a hot yoga class, exploring the outdoors, and traveling. Carissa also enjoys reading, particularly non-fiction books on military, leadership, and personal growth.
Carissa brings twelve years of diverse leadership training and experience to Cal Maritime from the military, education, and physical fitness sectors. She is most looking forward to developing, inspiring, and challenging Cadets, as they navigate through their journey at Cal Maritime.