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 bridges the fields of 20th and 21st century poetry and poetics, media archaeology, and critical race and ethnic studies. Before coming to Northwestern, Maria received a BA in English and BS in psychology from Loyola University Chicago, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, as well as an MA in the humanities from the University of Chicago.
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. During the 2019-20 academic year, Maria is facilitating Northwestern’s first Critical Prison Studies Reading Group, which will bring together graduate students, undergraduates, and faculty from departments across the humanities, social sciences, and school of communication to discuss key texts on the history of the carceral state as well as prison abolition movements and strategies.
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” was nominated for the American Comparative Literature Association’s 2019 A. Owen Aldridge Prize and received the Honorable Mention. Upcoming presentations include research on the “DIY” print activism of the Mimeograph Revolution and the Penal Press database of poetry journals produced by incarcerated populations, to be delivered at the Midwest Modern Language Association and American Studies Association conferences this November.
Outside of her studies 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 for high school students, and 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 archival photographs and documents in the Modern Manuscripts and Archives department 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 member of the poetry staff.