Maria is a detail-oriented illustrator with a background in fine arts and a special interest in animal morphology. Maria joined the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as a Bartels Illustrator after receiving her graduate certificate in Science Illustration from California State University, Monterey Bay in 2022. During her graduate studies, Maria focused almost exclusively on animal subjects to improve her ability to accurately illustrate them. Maria went on to complete her program’s internship component by providing freelance illustrations and design projects for the Oakland Zoo in California. During her time at the zoo, Maria illustrated various educational materials including a guide on how to use a telemetry device to track California Condors. She is thrilled to be given the opportunity to dive more deeply into studying birds through a variety of Cornell Lab projects.
Maria has a flexible illustration style ranging from colorful and stylized to highly realistic. Regardless of the style, Maria maintains a strong research practice to inform her illustrations. She is excited to contribute her work to the Cornell Lab for a range of projects such as membership products, academic figures, Living Bird magazine, and Birds of the World. Maria strongly believes in the value of art in fostering inclusion in learning environments and as an agent to inspire curiosity and wonder for the natural world.