With more than 28 years of higher education experience, Maria Reyes has devoted her time to strengthening the efforts of recruiting and retaining underrepresented populations in the STEM disciplines. This began at Arizona State University’s (ASU) Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering where she received several grants to support minoritized students in engineering. For the last 20 years, she worked within the Maricopa County Community College District, serving as an academic dean at three colleges and the Vice-President of Industry Partnerships for a County-wide Transformation effort.
Ms. Reyes is an engineer, earning a BSE and MSE in Civil Engineering from ASU and served as a consulting engineer early in her career. She was awarded a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government due to her passion for public policy and technical background. In 2021, Ms. Reyes returned to her technical work and joined Google, LLC as a Program Manager for New Product Introduction, Google Cloud.
A few other notable accomplishments from her work in higher education. In 2020, Ms. Reyes was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant from the Division of Undergraduate Education for $2.4 million. Ms. Reyes is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the five-year project entitled: Work-focused Experiential Learning to Increase STEM Student Retention and Graduation at Two-year Hispanic-serving Institutions. In 2021, she was awarded an NSF INCLUDES Alliance as the co-Principal Investigator. The ALRISE – Accelerate Latinx Representation in STEM Education – Alliance totaled almost $10 million and seeks to bring work-based experiences and Undergraduate Research experiences to students in 26 colleges within 6 states. She now serves as an advisory board member for the ALRISE grant. Through her time in higher education, she developed and worked with grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US Department of Education, and the US Department of Labor with a total estimated grant impact of $25 million.
Ms. Reyes has designed leadership and outreach programs for women of color in STEM and mentored countless women throughout her career at one point serving as the Chairwoman for Hispanic Women’s Conference (2009 and 2010). Her proudest career distinction is the establishment of the Hermanas: Diseña Tu Futuro Conferences for middle and high school students, which seeks to increase the number of women with a focus on Latinas in engineering. For over 15 years, the “Hermanas” conference has served more than 6000 young women across Maricopa County.
In 2019, the Association for Career and Technical Education of Arizona inducted Ms. Reyes into the President’s Circle of Distinction and she was honored by the Greater Phoenix Chamber ATHENA Awards as a Nominee for the 32nd Annual ATHENA Awards. In 2020 she was awarded the Dr. Alfredo de los Santos, Jr. Outstanding Latina/o Faculty: Service/Teaching In Higher Education Award by the Pete C. Garcia Victoria Foundation at the 11th Annual Arizona Higher Education Awards.
Ms. Reyes is the author and contributing writer of more than 20 academic publications with an emphasis on the social and cultural pedagogies of minoritized students in STEM environments.