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Marissa Brewer
Director of Advocacy, University of Illinois System Office of External Relations and Communications
Doctor of Public Administration


 Tahoka, Texas   

Undergraduate Institution and Major

Texas State University, Public Administration 

Graduate Institution and Major

University of Illinois Springfield, Political Science 


Marissa has over 18 years of lobbying, legislative advocacy, and political experience at the local, state, and federal levels.  Marissa is the Director of Advocacy for the University of Illinois System Office of External Relations and Communications. In this role, she leads the legislative advocacy efforts, including managing Illinois Connection, the University of Illinois System’s grassroots advocacy program. Originally from Texas, she began her career as a legislative aide in Washington DC for a U.S. Congressman, advising on various issues, including education policy. Marissa relocated to Illinois from Washington, D.C., in 2009 to work for Illinois State University as the Associate Director of Development and Governmental Relations. She served as the University's liaison to Illinois members of Congress and their staff, federal agencies, and other organizations. She transitioned to the University of Illinois System to help lead the legislative advocacy efforts in 2013. Marissa and her husband, Bryan, live in Covington, IN, with their son Bodhi.  

Relevant Professional Experience

Director and Asso. Director of Advocacy,  Assistant Vice President of Alumni Advocacy, Associate Director of Development and Governmental Relations, Congressional Management Foundation Trainer, and Congressional Legislative Assistant 

Research Interests

Higher education advocacy, issues affecting higher education policy, engaging stakeholders in advocacy efforts in higher education, alumni advocacy and how it translates to volunteerism for universities, political influences in higher education policy, state funding for public higher education, public interest in higher education, and higher education leadership development. 

Professional Affiliations

National Political Science Honor Society (Pi Sigma Alpha), Public Higher Education Legislative Advocacy Professionals Steering Committee, State Universities Annuitants Association UIUC Chapter Exe Committee 

Volunteer Activities

Danville Survivor Resource Center, Covington Indiana Coffeenians Club, Tri-Kappa Sorority- Covington IN Chapter, Covington Indiana 5k Committee, Covington Indiana Scholarship Committee, Washington DC Illinois State Society