Maria is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at California State University, East Bay where she has been involved in underrepresented minority recruitment, teaching and research for over 29 years. Her first work of fiction, a murder-mystery/crime-drama entitled "Pig Behind The Bear," has won four awards to date. Maria’s second novel, "The Water of Life Remains in the Dead," was ranked #5 on the Latino Author’s top ten list for 2015 and named a 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Award Winner. Both novels feature a feisty Chicana who uses her Revlon lipstick like a talisman as she works to investigate crimes against the most vulnerable among us - immigrants and children. Maria’s writing uses history, science, and dark humor to force us to see the unseen, the victims we never knew, those killed and abused under the cover of nightfall.