Born in Akron, Ohio, Resnick received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1970, and a doctorate in that field in 1977 at the University of Maryland. After graduation from Carnegie-Mellon, she was employed at RCA where she was a design engineer, and later worked with various NASA projects contracted to the company.
Resnick was selected for the astronaut program in January 1978, and had served as a mission specialist on the maiden voyage of Space Shuttle Discovery, August-September 1984. She was likewise a mission specialist aboard the Challenger.