Group of Peer Advocates outside the Drop In Center on a sunny day

Meet the Staff

Professional Staff

Marie Cascarano, EdD, MCHES
Health Promotion Coordinator
cascaranom@montclair.edu
973-655-7397

Dr. Marie Cascarano received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. There she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and art. She went on to receive a master’s degree and doctoral degree from Columbia University – Teachers College in Health Education.

Marie has worked for several non-profit organizations including the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence of Hudson County, Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey and Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey.

With over 20 years of experience in group facilitation and program development, Marie oversees a comprehensive, award-winning education and prevention program that addresses various health issues including alcohol and other drugs, safer sex, sexuality, body image, stress and sleep. Awards include The U.S. Department of Education’s Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Models on College Campuses (2006), The Bacchus Network Outstanding Program for Body Acceptance Week (2014), and The Bacchus Network Outstanding Program for Safer Spring Break (2015).

When Marie is not fighting stigma and preventing college health disasters, she is chauffeuring her daughter to various sports and activities, attending spin classes, and practicing self-care through art.


Carissa Ruf, MPH, CHES, RYT
Health Promotion Specialist
rufc@montclair.edu
973-655-3460

Carissa received her undergraduate degree in theatre with a minor in health education from Longwood University and a Master of Public Health from Emory University in Behavioral Science and Health Education with a Mental Health Certificate. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and her past work includes curriculum development and health education/promotion on topics such as stress reduction, sexual assault prevention, sexual health, alcohol & other drug awareness, mental health, social marketing campaigns and CDC health communication projects.

Carissa is a Registered Yoga Teacher with over seven years of teaching experience and a Board Certified Massage Therapist. She is passionate about guiding students towards establishing a fulfilling and flourishing life. She hopes to help students engage in mind/body wellness to find purpose and meaning through compassion, happiness and service.

She enjoys traveling, running around after her two cats (Jade & Tohru), and having adventures (anything from literary to lifelong). Her personal motto is to be happy, healthy and helpful.


Health Promotion Supervisors


Jessica Marino
Health Promotion Supervisor

Jessica is a graduate student obtaining her Master of Public Health Degree with a concentration in Community Health. She joined Health Promotion in 2015 as a peer advocate until completing her bachelor’s degree in public health in December 2016. Jessica has a passion for human sexuality, reproductive health and women’s health. In her spare time, she enjoys to go to museums and spending time with her friends. For the future, she plans on obtaining her doctoral degree in Human Sexuality and/or Public Health to become a sexual health educator.


Jasmine Davis
Health Promotion Supervisor

Jasmine is currently a graduate student at Montclair State University pursuing her Master of Public Health degree. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and received a minor in Psychology from Seton Hall University in May 2017. Jasmine enjoys a vast range of public health topics such as sexual health, body positivity, mental health awareness and preventative care. In her spare time, Jasmine likes to discover and travel to new places, read, spend time with family and friends, and watch crime documentaries. In the future, she hopes to apply the skills gained at Health Promotion to aid communities with health disparities and hopes to work on programs to inform and empower others to make healthy lifestyle choices.


Health Promotion Assistants


Laura Infield
Health Promotion Assistant

Laura is a junior majoring in nutrition with a concentration in food science. She joined Health Promotion in 2015 as a freshman with a passion for sexual health education, nutrition and stress management. However, through her years as a Peer Advocate, Laura has discovered an interest in promoting overall health and wellness for college students. Outside of school, Laura enjoys swimming, surfing and spending time with her friends, family and two dogs. After graduation, she hopes to enter into product development or food marketing.


Desiree Habersham
Health Promotion Assistant

Desiree is currently a junior majoring in psychology with two minors in film & business. She has a goal of attaining her master’s degree in business administration and becoming a hotel manager. She was a Peer Advocate from 2016-2017, but since she loves to learn new things and educate others, she decided to apply to become a staff member for the Office of Health Promotion. In addition to working at the Office of Health Promotion, Desiree is a Crossing Guard, Admissions Ambassador, Peer Leader, sister of Delta Xi Delta, and Montclair State Dance Company’s President. She is also a DIY aficionado, Pinterest fanatic and a Netflix/Hulu enthusiast. “By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others.” -Satsuki Shibuya


Brenna Fitzmaurice
Health Promotion Assistant

Brenna Fitzmaurice is a sophomore currently majoring in computer science. She joined Health Promotion in 2016 to help promote safer sex, mental health and body positivity, as well as other programs that are offered by Health Promotion. Working at Health Promotion has become a new passion of hers, which she finds fulfilling! Besides promoting healthy behaviors, Brenna is passionate about art, theatre, video games, witchcraft, poetry, coding, cats and puns. She has no idea what she wants to do after graduation, but she has her fingers crossed that it’ll be something cool.