Before joining the English Department at York College in 1997, Dr. Grasso was Assistant Professor of English in the Department of Language & Literature at Columbus State University where she taught courses in American Literature, Womens Literature, African American Literature, Writing, and Womens Studies. Her efforts to enrich African American programming on campus were publicly recognized when she received the Outstanding Service Award for Black History Month Program in 1996. While on a leave of absence during the 1996-1997 academic year, Dr. Grasso returned to New York City, her beloved home-town, and taught introductory and advanced courses in Womens Studies at Brooklyn College, CUNY.
Dr. Grasso earned her Masters Degree (1989) and Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown University in 1993, specializing in American Literature, Womens Literature, Womens History, and Asian American Studies. As a Brown University Fellow from 1987 to 1993, she taught several seminars on nineteenth-century American women's literature and directed undergraduate research projects on women's autobiography. In 1992, she received Brown University's Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Before she began graduate training at Brown University in 1987, Dr.Grasso worked for a nonprofit organization, Organization for Equal Education of the Sexes, where she was Associate Director of a federally funded project, "Sixty Multicultural Posters and Biographies on Women in History and Nontraditional Careers," whose goal was to create educational materials for students of all ages.
Dr. Grasso graduated magna cum laude from the City University of New York Baccalaureate Program in 1985 with a concentration in Womens Studies and Literature. In her final semester she received the Alice Coleman Award for Best Work of Literary Criticism from the Brooklyn College English Department for an essay on Georgia O'Keeffe. While earning her degree, she worked full-time as an administrative assistant in a vocational school for disabled and disadvantaged youths, which was part of Federation, Employment & Guidance Service, one of the largest social service agencies in New York City. Confronted with discrimination and poor working conditions in the work place, she became active in her labor union, District Council 1707, eventually becoming Shop Steward, Grievance Committee Chair, and Vice President of her Local. Her scholarly interest in labor relations led her to enroll in the Trade Union Women's Studies Program, part of Cornell University's New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She received a certificate of completion in 1981.