About EIM Contributor, Marissa!


Hi!  My name is Marissa.  I enjoy moonlit walks on the beach and candlelight dinners.  What?  Oh, this isn’t supposed to be that kind of “get to know” you post?  Well, actually, I do like those things, but let’s get real.  We live in Idaho.  I can no longer drive a little over an hour (from where I grew up in the central valley of California) to the ocean to enjoy the beach, but I can take hikes in Idaho’s beautiful mountains, and enjoy picnic dinners on the beach at many lakes.

I spent my University days in Northern California where I ultimately received my Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology/Communication Sciences and Disorders.  I caught my husband staring at me at a country dance club in Sacramento in 1998, the year after I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, and we were married a year and a half later. I never thought I would meet my life partner at a bar, but I did.  Besides having ended a five year relationship that year, it had been a year since my mom passed away from a four-year battle with cancer.  Neither my husband nor I were really looking for a life partner, but as I’ve heard, the best relationships come when you are not searching. We took a few years to work in Nebraska, Utah, California, and we even had a short summer doing satellite TV and pest control sales in Nevada prior to returning to my college town to receive my Master’s Degree.  I worked as a “Speech Therapy Aide” in the local public schools while working full time towards this degree.

After receiving my degree, I was required to spend nine months working in what is known as a Clinical Fellowship.  I worked with an amazing woman who not only taught me what Speech/Language services were like in the real world, but also encouraged me to go out on my own by starting my own private practice.  I spent those years visiting the under three population and their families in their homes.  About a year after receiving my Master’s Degree, I began a small private practice. It was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world, and I am still very much connected with many of those families and colleagues. However, in 2007, it was time for a change.  My husband has a brother that lives in Idaho Falls and we moved here so they could work together.  It was an easy transition in regards to my career since I can pretty much do what I do anywhere I live. I began contracting with the Infant Toddler Program through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare where I again saw young clients in their homes. However, it wasn’t the easiest move in other ways.  It’s not so much that it was Idaho versus California, as I had lived in other states; it was the transition between college years and adult life. It was the idea that we were in our early 30’s and were not parents yet.  Frankly, we felt different here.  In 2009, we had our first child.  I slowly reentered the workforce just before our son turned one.  We joined play groups and other organizations that fit our lifestyle and mindset.  Since our first years in Idaho Falls, I have contracted with the Infant Toddler Program, with schools, and have a small private practice, Peterson Therapy Services, Inc., that serves clients in their homes in Southeast Idaho.

My husband and I have grown during this time. Our family has grown by one more. Idaho Falls has grown as well, both in size and in thought. We love this community, and, unlike thirteen years ago, I would truly miss it and its members if we were to move. I am intrigued by other people’s lives.  I tend to be a helper.  I am learning how to balance personal needs with the needs of others.  I find “no” to be a difficult word to use, but I am starting to learn how to use it without feeling as guilty.  In my years prior to having children, I spent my free time taking lessons in ballroom and African Dance, I loved getting out into nature, and was a part of several book and cooking clubs.  Now, my world revolves more around my family.   I have quite a bit of me time in my commute between clients, so I prefer my “fun” time to be with my husband, who is also my best friend.  I enjoy doing things with friends that involve us as a couple, but I also enjoy going out to “coffee” with a friend or two. On weekend evenings, when social distancing isn’t as necessary, we often have a group of friends or family over to our home for a game, movie, or fight night.

At times, people seem surprised when I tell them that, as much as I enjoy being around large groups of people and learning about others, sometimes I need to prepare myself, mentally,  to socialize in crowds.   I may be a Speech Language Pathologist, but speaking in front of large groups, and being in the spotlight, just doesn’t come as naturally to me as it does to some.  Nonetheless, I try to do things like opening my own business, hosting twelve of my son’s friends every week, walking with a scout group in the color guard at local parades, being on the board of our child’s Parent Teacher Organization, or writing for the Idaho Falls Moms Blog that get me out there.   Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there!