Maria is from Portugal and began her career in education and research focusing on ecology and animal behavior. Her passion for education, data collection methods and data analysis led her to accept the role of the Assessment Coordinator at an American school in Southeast China, Nansha College Preparatory Academy (NCPA). Beyond supporting data gathering and analysis, she is responsible for managing and developing a program of assessment for the purpose of improved student learning, and program evaluation. After completing the Data Wise Leadership Institute Australia in 2019, she facilitated the implementation of the Data Wise Improvement Process at NCPA.
She holds a B.S. in biology from University of Coimbra, Portugal, a M.Sc. in Animal Ecology and a PhD in Biology and Ecology, both from University of Coimbra and Central Michigan University. She still connects to the world of biology by volunteering in research projects, most recently studying the snow leopard in Kyrgyzstan and the Masai Mara biodiversity in Kenya.