Image of Marissa Vincent in front of a seahawk statue outside of Pelican and Sandpiper Hall

February 17, 2021

When UNCW classes shifted to online learning last March, Marissa Vincent ’21 stayed in Wilmington rather than move back home so that she could give back to the local community and pursue her dream job.

Vincent, a native of Columbia, Maryland, delivered food boxes and hot lunches to those in need amidst the pandemic. “I had also just gone on a spring break service trip, which motivated me to get more involved in service,” she said. “I volunteered with Dr. (Amanda) Boomershine one evening and let her know that I would be staying in town and could help out more.”

Boomershine, a professor of Spanish, informed Vincent of an opportunity to volunteer as a diaper runner with the Lower Cape Fear Branch of the Diaper Bank of North Carolina. She has been making diaper deliveries to families throughout New Hanover and Pender counties ever since. She also has helped deliver boxes of produce and bags of non-perishable food from Nourish NC.

In between her classes and volunteer work, Vincent works part-time at an animal hospital as a veterinarian technician, a position she’s held for more than a year.

“I always knew I wanted to be a veterinarian. As I got older, I wanted to work in science in a field that was hands-on,” Vincent said. “Dr. Soon Lee [assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry] is currently mentoring me in his lab for my honors project; I really enjoy learning by doing.” Vincent recently applied to veterinary schools and hopes to attend in fall 2021.

Vincent had to put aside one of her other passions due to the pandemic. She had been a member of the UNCW Women’s Soccer team since her freshman year and was voted captain in the spring 2020. Vincent opted not to play during the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19 concerns.

“It was a difficult decision,” explained Vincent, a recipient of a Bank of America Honors Merit Scholarship and a UNCW Women’s Soccer Athletic scholarship. “Ultimately, I had to go with what I was comfortable with and what I thought was right for me. I plan on playing next spring.”

Vincent has used the extra time in her schedule to focus on fulfilling her desire to aid those in need. 

“I am passionate about helping others and specifically uplifting our marginalized communities, so I am grateful to have the opportunity to give back in this way,” said Vincent. “Giving back also reminds me to always remember my privileges so that I can understand and empathize with those who do not have the same ones. I am happy to help but I personally gain a lot from the experience, and get to practice my Spanish as well.”

-- Venita Jenkins