Maria is an educator, scholar, and poet from Chicago, IL. Currently, she is completing a doctorate in the Department of English at Northwestern University as a Mellon Humanities Cluster Fellow in Poetry & Poetics. Her research focuses on late 20th- and 21st- century poetry and art, critical race theory, and media studies.
In addition to holding an interdisciplinary graduate certificate in critical theory, Maria earned a teaching certificate through a year-long program at Northwestern's Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching. She has taught in both the English and Spanish & Portuguese Departments on topics including Shakespeare, U.S. Latina/o studies, and intro to film, and in the spring of 2018 she designed an expository writing class on the politics and poetics of televisual representations in literature. Maria was also a member of the inaugural cohort of graduate students to offer a course through the Northwestern Prison Education Program at the Cook County Department of Corrections. The class, titled "Introduction to Poetry: Voices, Rhythms, and Visions of Chicago," was designed to provide incarcerated students with an opportunity to develop the skills of argumentation, organization, and style that go into formal essay writing. This fall, Maria will be teaching a workshop titled “Tweets, ’Grams, Emojis, Texts: The Literary Forms of 21st Century Social Media” with the Odyssey Project—a free, college-credit granting humanities program for income-eligible adults with limited access to higher education.
Maria has presented papers, among others, on embodiment and erasure in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictee at the University of Chicago, the eroticism of wordplay in Harryette Mullen’s Sleeping With The Dictionary at the Summer Institute Cologne, televisuality and the carceral state in Claudia Rankine's Don't Let Me Be Lonely at the Newberry Library, the “printed Internets” of Mónica de la Torre and Tan Lin at the Modern Language Association convention, and racialized sonic labor in LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs’s TwERK at the annual conference of the Cultural Studies Association. Her paper “Gertrude Stein Learns to Code: Brian Kim Stefans’s Kluge: A Meditation and the Corruptibility of Modernist Time” earned Honorable Mention for the American Comparative Literature Association’s 2019 A. Owen Aldridge Prize. Upcoming presentations include research on the “DIY” print activism of the Mimeograph Revolution, to be delivered at the Midwest Modern Language Association Convention in November.
Outside of her work as a PhD student, Maria has volunteered with the after-school creative writing program Poetry in the Schools: The Voice Within Us, the college immersion experience Splash! at Northwestern, as well as with the Chicago chapter of Black and Pink—a pen pal matching organization that supports LGBTQIA2S+ incarcerated people. She has also worked for a number of institutions around the city of Chicago, including processing documents in the Modern Manuscripts and Archives collection at the Newberry Library, administering The Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at the University of Chicago, and interning for the non-profit poetry journal RHINO. In 2018, she was named a Humanities Without Walls pre-doctoral fellow by Northwestern’s Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, an initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Maria’s creative and critical writing can be found in Colloquium, graze, Diminuendo: The Loyola Quarterly Literary Magazine, Palimpsest: Yale Literary & Arts Magazine, The Newberry Library Archive, and Chicago Review, for which she is presently a reader on the poetry staff.