Maria is a DPhil student in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation under the supervision of Dr Jamie Lachman and Dr Frances Gardner. Her research is funded by the Centenary Scholarship. Her DPhil research evaluates how different cultural determinants impact ParentText engagement among parents and caregivers in South Africa.
Maria has professional experience in public and private healthcare institutions in Africa, Europe and the U.S. Prior to starting her DPhil, she worked as a Public Health Specialist intern for one year with the Arthritis Foundation, USA. In 2020 Maria worked with the epidemiology team of the Georgia Department of Public Health and used her knowledge and expertise to support the American government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout her career, she has involved herself in various community volunteering works through teaching and service. She is the co-founder of the Kuzola (Kikongo word that means "Love") Project. The project is an initiative that, for more than seven years, has assisted traumatized children and adolescents of the government-funded orphanage Lar Kuzola in Angola, Africa.
Maria holds a Master of Public Health Degree from Georgia State University, U.S. (2021) and a Medical Doctor Degree from Belgorod State University, Russia (2017). In 2021 she received the People’s choice award at the Georgia State University 3 Minute Thesis competition. Particularly, her research interests are focused on how digital technologies can scale up social and public health interventions in developing countries. As a strong advocate of primary prevention, she intends to dedicate her career to advancing children's and women's health.