Maria began as SERC’s Executive Officer in 2021. In this broad role, she is responsible for the management and oversight of SERC’s operations and administrative services. She enjoys working with science, education, administration, facilities, and security staff at SERC and across the Smithsonian to facilitate SERC’s mission of providing science-based knowledge to meet the environmental challenges of our time.
Maria first joined the Smithsonian in 2015 as program manager for the MarineGEO network, a global collaborative research effort to understand causes and consequences of change in coastal ecosystems around the world. Prior to this, she coordinated informal science education programs in the Office of Education at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where she also served as a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow.
Maria holds a B.A. in Biology from the University of Virginia. She also holds an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland—College Park, where she researched the evolutionary ecology of marine invertebrate populations using genomic tools, field experiments, and modeling on an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Before graduate school, Maria worked at the Marine Biological Laboratory using bioinformatics for soil bioremediation. In her spare time, Maria advocates for equity in science, STEM education, and the workplace.