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.
Scott worked in the Political-Military Bureau in the Office of International Security Operations (PM/ISO). Scott then formally joined the Foreign Service in 2003 under the Thomas Pickering Fellowship. Her first assignment was in Djibouti (2004-2006) as the General Services Officer managing close to 75 employees within both the GSO and facilities maintenance sections. Scott completed her consular tour at the U.S. Consulate in Santo Domingo (2007-2009). Her third assignment was Algiers where she served as the Cultural Affairs Officer (2009-2011) where she managed a two-million dollar University Linkage program and regularly appeared on French-language Algerian television to promote educational and cultural programs. Scott’s most recent tour was as the PAO and Director of the American Cultural Center in Niamey (2012-2015). There, she managed the English Language Program—a robust effort of 24 contract English teachers and close to 1000 students. Scott also worked closely with AFRICOM on strategic communications plan for the 2014 Flintlock Counterterrorism Exercise. Her work on counterterrorism issues led to recognition from the Special Forces Commander and a panel discussion on interagency cooperation and coordination at the 2014 Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) conference in Stuttgart. Marissa endeavors to translate fieldwork into clear policy messages that help the USG achieve measurable results.
Scott is married to William Torres, Jr. They have two children: Joseph Gabriel Torres and Kingston Jonah Torres. Scott is proficient in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.