Marissa Scott was born and grew up in DeRidder, Louisiana to Marvin and Malissa Scott. She graduated from DeRidder High School in 1995. She attended Dillard University in New Orleans, LA and earned a B.A. in English literature and Spanish in 1999. She taught English at a rural middle school in Louisiana before spending a year at the University of Salamanca in Spain where she earned a Diploma of Hispanic Studies while on a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellowship from 2000-2001.
She attended the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and in 2003 received an M.A. in International Relations with advanced studies in conflict resolution. Scott has also completed coursework towards a Ph.D. in public policy and public administration.