About me

Maria professional2I am a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University in the joint program between the Department of Statistics and Heinz College.

My interests include visualization of large datasets, the collection of social data in the developing world, and social statistics.

More specifically, my research interests are in survey methodology and population counts in contexts related to human rights.

Social media, cell phones, and digital surveys offer new sources of data about populations that are hard to reach, including people in remote areas, refugees, and natural disaster survivors. By using statistical methodology, I am interested in generating inferences from these new sources to provide information such that it is representative of the whole population, not just the populations that are easy to survey.

I believe in presenting complex information in a clean and simple manner that anyone can understand. Data visualization is one of my passions.


I am a physicist by training and wrote my undergraduate thesis on estimating dark matter distributions by using weak gravitational lensing.

Before starting graduate school I developed the Bus ConCiencia, a mobile laboratory that brings science experiments and teacher trainings to schools in remote areas of Chile. I also worked at JPAL, the MIT Poverty Action Lab, where I focused on evaluating social programs. While working at JPAL, I designed the logistics to implement a randomized controlled trial in the field. This gave me insight into the advantages and challenges of surveys.