Michigan Association of Fire Fighters

Photos by Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor                                                                                               MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Joe O’Connor (left) congratulates 2023 Carl Parsell Scholar Marisa Fisher (right). Her mother (center) is MAP member Christine R. Fisher, a Sterling Heights Police Administrative Secretary.

By Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor

Marisa Fisher was looking to expand her college education and receiving a 2023 Carl Parsell Scholarship is helping her reach that goal.

The 20-year-old Sterling Heights resident is the daughter of MAP member Christine R. Fisher, a Sterling Heights Police Department Administrative Secretary, and Matthew Fisher. She graduated Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Sterling Heights in 2021 and has a 3.68 GPA at Central Michigan University.

Thanks in part to her $2,500 Carl Parsell Scholarship for the 2023-24 academic year, the Fashion Merchandising major now has dual minors in Journalism and Theater.

MAFF Executive Director Fred Timpner (right) and Labor Relations Specialist Joe O’Connor (left) with 2023 Carl Parsell Scholar Marisa Fisher (second from right) and her mother MAP member Christine R. Fisher.

“School can be very expensive, but getting support from different scholarships is very helpful, because I am also adding another minor and that adds a lot more classes,” she said. “Getting a Carl Parsell Scholarship made it easier to be confident in my decision to add a minor in Journalism, instead of pushing it aside until I have more money to do it or just learning it myself.”

Fisher received $12,115 during the 2022-23 academic year through Central Michigan University scholarships and grants and a Pell Grant. Her career plans are to work as a fashion stylist or fashion writer/editor of a magazine. “One of my goals is to focus on sustainability in fashion,” she said.

She has been very involved on campus, while gaining experience in her career field. She’s a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society through Macomb Community College, where she attended her first year of college. She transferred to Central Michigan last fall and just completed her second year of higher education.

“I am a writer for Verge magazine, an on-campus fashion magazine,” Fisher wrote in her 2023 Carl Parsell Scholarship application. “I participate in Threads, a student-run fashion show where I fill the position of director of model management.”

“I was in charge of any needs of the models and organized runway choreography,” she said. “I was assigned 120 volunteer models and responsible for organizing that and putting them together with designer collections.”

She is also a student ambassador for the NRF (National Retail Federation) Foundation, assisting other students interested in the retail field. “I’m in charge of educating people at my school about the scholarships and going to the NRF Foundation Student Program in January,” she said. “It’s mainly to open the door for more scholarships for students and the opportunity to attend NRF’s networking event with retail industry speakers.”

The former volunteer bass player at St. Blase Parish Youth Choir in Sterling Heights volunteered at First Impressions, an on-campus “store” that provides free business clothing to students every semester. “Community members donate business clothes that students can come in and pick up – full outfits for interviews,” she said. “I was a volunteer stylist, finding what is right for the interviews and in their size. It was a really interesting experience.”

Fisher has been preparing for her career since high school, working as the head of her high school’s costume department for Titan Theater Troupe. “I won multiple awards for my design and execution through the MIFA (Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association) competition,” she wrote about the theater competition. “I was also awarded ‘Thespian of the Year,’ an award for school honors in the theatre department.”

Fisher is working to help pay for her college expenses while gaining experience in retail as a seasonal sales associate at Nordstrom in Troy. This is her second summer at Nordstrom. “I have worked as a stylist at Evereve, a boutique style retailer (in Clinton Township),” she wrote. “I also have experience in management as I was a key holder and barista at Kuma Boba (in Sterling Heights) over a year.”

The additional funds she received from the Carl Parsell Scholarship will help offset the costs of gaining career-specific experience.

“Many of the fashion internships I am required to do are located in more expensive cities,” she wrote in her application. “With the money I save on tuition from this scholarship, I will be able to focus on choosing an internship that will further my career and not just what will satisfy my degree requirements.”