Born and raised in Washington, DC, Merissa was a sex educator with Teens Against the Spread of AIDS at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, in 1999. She holds a BA in American Culture Studies and Women and Gender Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, where she ran the Committee Organized for Rape Education and the Committee on Sexual Assault for 3 years.
She earned an MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado in 2008 where she trained intensively in the Shambalah lineage of Shamatha meditation under the guidance of painter Robert Spellman.
In 2013 she earned an MA in Jewish Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California where she focused on sex and gender with Guggenheim Recipient Naomi Seidman, and on inherited trauma at UC Berkeley with Professor Stefania Pandolfo.
She spent a year studying Torah at the PARDES institute for Jewish Studies, is a Sivananda certified yoga teacher, and in 2013 she attended the ALEPH Jewish Renewal Kallah retreat where she studied with Rabbi Shefa Gold, Rabbi David Ingber, and others.
In addition to writing and performing, she is a local educator and has worked with organizations such as Georgetown University, UCLA, Facing History, Facing Ourselves, The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Jewrotica, The Collaborative, Moishe House, and Boston 3G to facilitate workshops on Judaism, Sex, Trauma and more. Her greater intention is to provide new and innovative tools to aid the healing of post-war intergenerational trauma in the coming generations.