Program Officer, Andes-Amazon Initiative, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
American living in California, USA
Maria is an environmental anthropologist with over two decades of experience as a researcher and practitioner at the intersection of environmental conservation, sustainable development and human well-being. As a Program Officer in one of the United States’ largest private foundations, Maria is in charge of strategic grant making to ensure the long-term conservation of the Amazon. Prior to joining the foundation, Maria worked as a scientist at Earth Innovation Institute, where she led multi-stakeholder processes to set standards of engagement for indigenous peoples and local communities in forest conservation and climate change mitigation policies across the tropics. She has also worked as a researcher with Stanford University’s Social Ecology Lab and as a consultant to organisations such as The Nature Conservancy. Maria has lived and worked throughout Latin America, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Paraguay, conducting field research in the Brazilian Amazon and the Maya Forest of Mexico, and building coalitions across civil society groups, indigenous’ peoples’ organisations and governments. She is passionate about contributing to a healthy and just planet. Maria holds a M.S. and Ph.D. in interdisciplinary ecology with a concentration in anthropology from the University of Florida and a B.A. in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.