Born in the bluebonnet fields of Austin, Texas, the arc of her childhood stretched from Texas and Brazil through Nebraska and eventually to Minnesota where she spent her final year of high school studying astronomy and physics at Macalester College and the University of St. Thomas, she studied art and semiotics at Brown University, where she discovered a deep and profound love for telling stories, and she played around a lot making large scale stop-motion animations, art installations, and experimental films.

Maria continued to study film directing and writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she has been mentored by John Tintori, Spike Lee, Todd Solondz, John Hamburg, Jay Anania, Robert Warren, and Barbara Sukova. She helped adapt Jennifer Egan’s pulitzer winning novel A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD with Rabbit Bandini Productions for HBO. Maria created PIECEMEAL, a surrealist cooking show that combined documentary, scripted action, animation, and a sense of humor for PLUM TV. She taught Puppet Animation at the Art Institute of Chicago. She created THE CHALLENGING PATIENT for Hasborough Hospital and Brown University’s Medical School. Her award-winning short films have been screened internationally. She was awarded the Dean's Fellowship at New York University, the Cary Grant Filmmakers Award from the Princess Grace Foundation, the Trustee Scholarship from the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Weston Price Filmmakers Award. She has received grants from The Princess Grace Foundation and the Creative Arts Council.  And in between watching movies, she likes to take long walks and imagine the stories of all the people she passes by.