Maria received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Rice University. Her research explores the design practices and ordering logics that shape political participation in late-liberal democracies. Her dissertation project looks at the introduction of an American-inspired political marketing industry into Colombian politics, and how it easily intersected with existing clientelistic political practices. While at MIT, she intends to further explore the features of liberalism that allow clientelism and media-based politics to coexist, and even thrive, under a single system. She is also currently developing a second research project that studies emergent participatory approaches in American urban design. By looking at the participatory methodologies and implementation of public interest design projects, Maria explores how these projects envision a pluralized and socially just version of a market-centered liberalism in the United States.