Marissa Yanni is graduating for the second time from St. Francis College this winter, having already earned her undergraduate degree in business management in May 2014. She returned for her second go-round as Terrier in January 2019 completing requirements for the MS in Management program this month.
Marissa will be among the first students to complete the program, which launched in 2018 and conferred its first degrees earlier this year.
Beginning as a St. Francis undergrad, Marissa has built her professional career in New York City government, spending almost seven years in positions with the New York City Council before moving on to the Department of Sanitation, where she works currently. A 2010 graduate of Saint Saviour in Park Slope, Marissa is a proud, life-long resident of Brooklyn, a borough she says she will never leave.
As she concludes her St. Francis College journey that has spanned 10 years, Marissa reflects on her education and the role St. Francis has played in her life.
How did you choose St. Francis College originally?
My dad went to St. Francis College and graduated in 1977, so I felt a connection to the school. And then when I visited, it fit all my needs. I liked it a lot.
You earned both an undergraduate and graduate degree in business management. Why that field?
I thought about what would be useful going into the work world and what would be necessary to know. With business management, you take a little bit of every kind of subject: marketing, finance, accounting, stats, business law. That gave me a well-rounded education for when I went to work for the government. I was able to take all those skills and all those things I learned and put them to use.
What is your history working in city government?
As an undergrad, I was able to help out at the Great Irish Fair, representing St. Francis College. I met former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn there. I started working as an intern for her beginning in my junior year [October 2012]. I was hired full-time as a [New York City Council] employee after I graduated, under Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Later I worked under Speaker Corey Johnson. I stayed with City Council until June 2019.
Last December , I started working for the Department of Sanitation. I'm currently the Manhattan Community Affairs Liaison in the Bureau of Community Affairs there.
Is there a specific class that has been particularly helpful to your work?
My project management classes [in my master's program] have been exceptionally helpful. They really helped me learn how to budget my time, to work with what I have and be able to juggle multiple projects at the same time. Dr. [Barbara] Edington was really the best person in that area. She showed me the ropes.
I'm also finishing my risk management [course] with Dr. [Sandra] Westcott, which has been amazing. I absolutely loved her class. It really helps you look at how to delegate work, what to tackle first, how to look for risks and use tools to get things done.
The MS in Management program is relatively new. How did you select it for your graduate work?
I wanted to continue my education, so I looked into MBA programs, but none of them really fit my schedule and what I wanted to do. I saw the St. Francis program and I went to the Open House. I talked to Professor [Marie] Segares [Professor of Management and Director of the MS in Management program], and she helped me make my decision. I knew I could trust St. Francis, so that helped as well.
You worked full-time while in graduate school. How was that?
It was really manageable. I used the project management skills as I was learning them when it came to budgeting my time. I was able to figure out how I get my work done.
What are your parting words to St. Francis College as you complete your degree?
St. Francis has been wonderful to me and my family. I really appreciate the time that I've spent going to school here. I enjoyed the small classes and the campus. I was fortunate that I was able to graduate from school with a full-time job. A lot of people can't do that. They're starting from scratch when they graduate. St. Francis put me in that position because I was able to have my internship and go to school, which I really appreciated.
A lot of the professors were fantastic and taught me a lot. They took time to work with me, to help me and make sure I understood the curriculum. I really appreciate that, too.