Maria is a 2021 graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, where she majored in sociology and minored in anthropology. She is the eldest of three children, from Ogden, UT, but was raised in a suburban city called North Chicago in the state of IL. She was a four-year student intern at The POGIL Project, was involved in a club called Mi Gente Latina, and volunteered at the vivarium at the college as part of the Yallies monkey enrichment team. Outside of F&M, she is part of a church youth group in Lancaster at Christ is the Refuge church, and back home in a youth group called Generation Hope at LPC Waukegan church. She is interested in becoming a social worker and potentially an educator at an elementary school. At The POGIL Project, Maria helps with materials fulfillment for workshops and website database management. She also helps produce the POGIL Inquirer newsletter.

Maria Ayala Montes De Oca