Born in Tinton Falls, New Jersey in 1957, Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat earned a Bachelor’s Degree in history from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1975. Thinking she might teach overseas, Bernicat earned a teaching credential in social sciences at the secondary level. Rather than becoming a teacher, Bernicat worked in a managerial position at Procter & Gamble in New York City, New York.
After beginning a graduate program at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in 1979 Bernicat worked as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. While there, she was the first embassy staffer to warn the local officials that debris from a disintegrating Skylab might shower Liberia.
In 1980, Bernicat earned a Master’s Degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. A year after completing her graduate degree, she joined the U.S. Foreign Service. Bernicat’s first overseas assignment was from 1982 to 1984 as a Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bamako, Mali. Her next post from 1984 to 1986 was as a Consular Officer in the Operations Center of the U.S. Consulate General in Marseille, France. After returning to Washington D.C., from 1986 to 1987 Bernicat served as Operations Center Watch Officer, and from 1987 to 1989 she was as Special Assistant to former Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead.
From 1989 to 1990 Bernicat moved to the Asia section in the State Department, serving as Desk Officer for Nepal and India in the Bureau of Near East and South Asian Affairs. From 1992 to 1995 she was the Deputy Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India.
From 1995 to 1998 Bernicat was Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General, Casablanca, Morocco, and from 1998 to 2001 as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi. She then served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados from 2001 to 2004.
Returning to Washington, D.C. Bernicat served as Senior Level Division Director in the Office of Career Development and Assignments