Maria, originally from Littleton Colorado, has always had a passion for service and leadership. In 2016, Maria obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from Seattle Pacific University. Her internships within the field of mental health provided a foundation to truly understand the importance of prioritizing mental health for overall wellbeing. In 2017, Maria joined Teach for America, in which she uprooted to experience life in the south and serve children in low-income schools. During her two years of teaching 7th and 8th grade students in Pointe Coupee Parish, Maria experienced firsthand the injustices within the educational system working against her students, and became especially passionate about impacting the school-to-prison pipeline. Maria made the difficult decision to cease her teaching career to pursue graduate school. Maria graduated in 2021 with her Master’s degree in social work from LSU, specializing in children and youth. Maria’s passion for providing children and their families equitable opportunities to thrive led her to join the team at LCCR.