Growing in the Inland Empire of Southern California, Valissa Thomas is originally from Fontana, California. Valissa obtained her Bachelors of Science in Health Science and Counseling at California State University, Fullerton and Masters of Arts at the Unversity of the Pacific in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Student Affairs. As a professional in higher education and student affairs for 5 years at various institutions, and specifically in residential life for 8 years starting as a Resident Advisor at Cal State Fullerton, Valissa has really enjoyed her time and experience in residential life. With her interest in residential education, student leadership, identity development, Black Women and Queer POC advocacy, community building, and self-care, she is excited to continue her supporting students on their educational journey. Outside of her professional career, Valissa enjoys hanging out with family and friends, listening to new music and her favorite artist Beyonce, reading, and learning new recipes to cook. As she embarks on this new Semester at Sea journey, she looking forward to meeting new staff, faculty, and students on the ship while learning and experiencing new places around the globe. Valissa’s passion includes traveling and education, so she is looking forward to bridging both together and building new connections. Valissa is excited to join you all on the 2020 Spring semester voyage!