Kent State Trumbull graduate Marissa Lemasters gathers degrees and followers

When Marissa Lemasters graduated from Newton Falls in 2018, she never imagined where she would be Friday night: standing in front of hundreds of people as the student speaker for Kent State Trumbull's 2024 Spring Commencement.

Regarding her high school experience, Lemasters reflected that she was not just shy,  but “super shy.”

"Besides lower tuition, one of the reasons I chose Kent State Trumbull was its size," Lemasters said. "I had not come out of my shell so I wanted a smaller campus close to home."

Soon after starting her Kent State classes, she began taking advantage of campus events, meeting other students and gaining inner confidence. Lemasters became so sure of herself that she decided to earn three degrees: an associate of arts and two bachelor's degrees in business and psychology.

In her spare time, she started an Instagram page, @mara_lemasters, to promote her brand and highlight her expertise in fashion and creating content.

"My page really took off because I had gained inner confidence and felt comfortable with my voice and image," she said.

Today, she has nearly 13,000 followers. Last year, she launched a podcast, "Thoughts?" with her cousin Allison (Ally), who owns Allison Cole Photography and helped her with images and her portfolio. She also created an LLC called M. Creative Content & Digital Marketing. 

"In the short term, I will continue building my brand and LLC. And, because I feel like I have gotten so much from my college experience, I'd love to work in marketing at Kent State," she said. "In the long term, I hope to start a retired racehorse rescue and continue creating digital media."

Lemasters is anxious to share her experiences about her educational journey with fellow graduates and families at commencement.

"I have gained lifelong friends and mentors at Kent State Trumbull," she said. “I built those relationships by being on the homecoming court, working as a student employee, serving as the Honors Program president and participating in Student Life."

Lemasters thanked Frank Lindsay, manager of Information Technology-Regional Campus; Dean Bill Ayres, Ph.D.; Bill Burgess, Regional Campuses marketing coordinator; and professors Katelyn Frey, Ph.D. assistant professor of Psychology; Maria Cristina Brett, associate lecturer of Spanish; and Ana Wetzl, Ph.D. associate professor of English. 

"So many people supported me on campus and off," Lemasters said. "My grandmother, Bernie Powell, is a Kent State graduate and my parents, Melissa Phillips and Brian Lemasters, didn't graduate from Kent State but did meet on the Trumbull campus."

Lemasters also expressed gratitude for the scholarships she earned, including the Oehler Endowment Scholarship, Sonderman Endowed Scholarship and Trumbull Honors Scholarship.

Honors student, influencer, podcaster, business owner and, now, the holder of three degrees: Marissa Lemasters is truly a standout, joining more than 273,500 Kent State alumni worldwide.

 Photo credit: Allison Cole Photography

POSTED: Wednesday, May 8, 2024 02:05 PM
Updated: Wednesday, July 10, 2024 12:24 PM