In observance of Women’s History Month, Nebraska Today has partnered with the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women to feature female office/service staff who go above and beyond in their work at Dear Old Nebraska U. This Women of Service series will run in Nebraska Today through March 30.
The series launches today with Marissa James, an officer with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Police Department. She was nominated by Sara Haake, dispatch director with UNLPD.
“I nominated Marissa for this award because of how well she goes above and beyond as a woman at UNL,” Haake said. “Her humility and quiet strength are awe inspiring. And, her work as a female officer in a male-dominated field provides a phenomenal role model for future generations of officers.”
James sat down with the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women to discuss what drives her to success on and off campus.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a lifelong Nebraskan. I grew up in a small town in south central Nebraska. I came to Lincoln for college and have lived here since. I was a member of the Cornhusker Marching Band when I attended UNL. I have an associate’s degree in automotive technology. I have worked a variety of different jobs prior to becoming a police officer — including food service (where I met my husband), customer service, automotive and clerical work. I am a wife and mom of three.
How long have you been at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln?
Almost 3 years. I started with UNL in April 2020.
What do you look forward to when you come to work?
I look forward to the opportunity to help the campus community. I feel I am part of a meaningful team and I enjoy working with/learning from my coworkers. They make it easy to come to work every day. Sometimes, our work to help comes in the form of educating, having consequences for actions, or just trying to find answers or other resources for someone. I really enjoy solving a case and getting answers for those involved and knowing we are here to keep campus safe.
What is your favorite memory at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln?
My favorite memory at UNL would have to be my first “real” (post-COVID) Nebraska football season. Finally working actual games (with fans, the band, and all), I got to see and experience a different side of Husker football. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes you don’t see on TV. The best part of it was getting to see my daughter in the Cornhusker Marching Band marching down to the stadium, the pregame and halftime shows. I enjoy being able to share my experiences with the band and have those experiences in common with her.
What is your life like outside of work?
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family. We usually have a variety of kids’ activities that keep us busy. I like to work out at the YMCA with the kids. When it’s warm outside, I like to run and bike. I participate in half marathons. The most recent one, my youngest ran it with me and I couldn’t have been more proud. I also enjoy working off-duty for various Husker games, such as volleyball and basketball. It’s fun to be able to do my part, watch the Huskers, and interact with fans young and old at the same time. I do still enjoy working on cars when I have time and trying to teach our kids a thing or two.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I feel like a lot of people see the uniform and what I do for my job — but, they don’t know about my personal life and that I am just like everyone else. I am a wife and mother. I enjoy being active. I have my own struggles and faults, which makes me human. I have always been more introverted but have had to challenge myself since becoming an officer. I am still rather nervous about public speaking. I have dealt with trauma, as I’m sure many others have too. I like to think I’ve overcome and persevered and use my experiences to be more empathic and understanding.