As a paraplegic since 1984, Maria was a notable road racer on LI and in the tri-state region.  Having won many races of all lengths including the L.I. & Entenmann's half marathons and the Detroit Free Press Marathon, from which she qualified to race in the Boston Marathon, Maria was also active for 10 years with the LI Express Wheelchair Sports Club playing wheelchair basketball along the East Coast.  During her athletic career, she trained and mentored youth with disabilities in road racing and basketball.  She is certified in SCUBA and has enjoyed skiing.   
Maria has provided consulting services to various small businesses, builders, and other professionals about ADA guidelines; accessibility; trainings for public and private schools on safety, diversity, peer pressure, character education, anti-bullying, and drugs/alcohol prevention. Maria volunteers at the SUNY @ Stony Brook School of Health Sciences with the Physical Therapy program each year speaking with physical therapy students about issues about disability. 
Maria graduated from Adelphi University with a Master's degree in Social Work in 1997. Having interned at the VAMC @ Northport, she developed an interest in those with schizophrenia and the mental health of military families and service members before, during and after deployment.  Her thesis paper was titled “The Efficacy and Use of Art in the Diagnosis and Therapeutic Intervention for Schizophrenia.” Her areas of interest include: Childhood development; reactive attachment Issues; attachment issues related to adoption, impact of high conflict divorce on childhood growth and maturity stemming from parental alienation; treatment of childhood trauma; the impact of sports on recovery after onset of disability; First Responder trauma. She is a member of: National Association of Social Work, Counsel on Social Work Education, and Parental Alienation Study Group, Inc. (PASG) 
Maria’s career began working with children in the foster care system and working in the non-profit world of community mental health. She has worked in a school-based mental health program, where she developed a Summer Transition Program to help Elementary School students improve their transition to middle school. She also organized a Girl’s Health, Wellness & Empowerment Conference for High School-aged girls where topics such as healthy eating, relationship violence, and a fashion show were presented.  The goal of these programs is to improve self-esteem and emotional health awareness to improve students’ motivation to set & reach their goals beyond high school. She developed the 6 Pillars of Success Program for Adolescents to empower teens to develop specific areas of their lives for post-secondary school success. Maria has also aided in mental health care of first responders, fire department and police department responders, and those affected by September 11, 2001.  She has taught classes on family therapy with a focus on cultural awareness, grief & bereavement, Ableism, disability and sensitivity, community resources, ADHD, trauma, and juvenile delinquency.  She is a member of the Dept of Psychiatry’s Cultural Awareness Committee and the University’s sub-committee for Disability.