Maria has a master’s degree in physics from Creighton University where she researched neurotracing dyes. Working with these microscopic pigments and seeing the patterns that were made as they traced out neural pathways, she was inspired by the intersection of art, science, and the natural world. She has since devoted herself to an art career that seeks to identify these connections. She is a self-taught painter and was introduced to wood carving in Omaha Nebraska by the master woodcarver Denny Jackson. Later, she expanded her repertoire of wood working with the luthier John Hargiss.