When Marisa Hoover first learned about Big Ocean, she did what she always does: conducted some research and then jumped in with both feet. At the time she was a freshman at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She and a friend were drawn to an Instagram post inviting young women to apply to be youth members of the Big Ocean delegation preparing to attend the U.N. Commission of the Status of Women (CSW).
As she studied the tenets of Big Ocean Women, she knew she wanted be part of the organization’s work. Even in high school she had been drawn to women’s issues and the cause of feminism. However, she was not comfortable with the world’s definition and focus as it often belittled or ignored the powerful impact of women, particularly mothers.
She explained, “I knew I believed in the social, economic, and political equality of women and felt drawn to fight on behalf of women’s rights and interests. I knew I was a feminist in the basic definition of the word, but I was not what feminism in America was turning into. That’s when I found Big Ocean Women. I could be a feminist who puts family first, was committed to my faith, and knew that motherhood was divinely appointed by God. Before finding Big Ocean Women I had not yet heard the term ‘maternal feminist,’ but I immediately identified with it.”
She commented on her experience there. “When I was given the opportunity to attend the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women as a Big Ocean Women youth delegate, my experiences were life changing. I spoke on the controversial topic of abortion and was able to defend the sanctity of life making the argument that if anyone should be protecting the innocent, vulnerable unborn, it should be women. I sat in on panel discussions and was able to take the opportunity to share my belief in my God-given worth as a child and daughter of a Father in Heaven. I had many women, young and old, thank me for my contributions noting that they were so grateful to hear a young woman of my generation speak these opinions and convictions.”
To those who know Marisa, it was not a surprise to see her make such an early impact. It seems she does things in big ways. She grew up in Idaho, garnering awards for piano performance, studying ballet for 13 years, and serving as the Hillcrest High School senior class president. To cap it off, she was named Idaho’s Distinguished Young Woman of 2016.
She is currently a sophomore majoring in public relations. She took 18 months away from her studies to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Porte Alegre, Brazil.
Despite her youth, Marisa now serves as a board member of Big Ocean. Her experiences have given her opportunities to make a difference, not only with big waves, but also little drops. She pointed to developing the ability to listen with civility to others’ opinions and expecting them to do the same. This points to her favorite tenet, “We are each unique and innately worthy of respect.” She also finds strength in living and sharing her belief in faith, family, and motherhood.
On a more personal note, Marisa noted her passions include family, education, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She also loves anything outdoors including snowboarding, hiking, and rock climbing.
Her vision of a perfect world is “family, love, peace, health, and plenty for everyone.” You can be sure that she’ll continue to move us toward that ideal with steady contributions from little drops to big waves of goodness.