Maria first became involved in participatory budgeting (PB) during the very first PB cycle in the U.S. in 2009. Inspired by the experience, she took on a leadership role as a founding board member of the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP). She is currently PBP’s Project Manager for the Midwest & South. Maria has years of facilitation and training experience previously working as a mediator and mediation trainer with the Interfaith Center for Peace in Columbus, Ohio. Maria’s interests in community voice and the role of civil society were the focus on her graduate studies at DePaul University where she earned an M.S. in International Public Service Management. Maria lives with her partner in Chicago, IL and works nationally and abroad.