During the 2008 - 2009 school year Maria was a junior at Oak Park -
River Forest High School. She has been Involved in nine productions there, both on stage and behind it.

For the last two years She has been a member of the Young Adult Council at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. That experience has not only allowed Maria  to explore her own creativity, but has also provided her with life lessons from some of the most influential people in Chicago theatre.

The award from the Laura Southwick Foundation has helped support Maria's participation in the "Adventures in Film Making" program at Western Illinois University. This was a five day intensive workshop that completely submerges her In the world of learning and creating film. This is the first first filmmaking workshop that she has participated in and demonstrates her eagerness to explore and submerge heself in a new medium. She says that she belives that "film, especially shorts, have the ability to capture and address the difficult issues of today" and that she hopes to "someday inspire other young women to discover what they are truly passionate about."
"Maria Maia is a student with whom I have worked closely on a main stage production at Oak Park - River Forest High School's Little Theatre. Maria played one of two lead roles in
Maria's teacher, Paul Noble in the OP-RF  English and Drama Department, says of her:
Necessary Targets., by Eve Ensler. Maria is of a rare breed among high school actors. She has none of the affected, flamboyant acting habits of so many young people. Her work is simple, direct, and unencumbered by the "look-at-me" ostentation. I find her very open to direction and also very attuned to working on her craft.

Maria is also very smart, a quality that can't be underestimated in actors - so long as it's coupled with talent. In her case, it is. Maria could act professionally if she so chose, not just "one day," but now. Doubtless she has
much to learn, as any adolescent would, but if she chooses to fully pursue her interest in the performing arts, a career awaits. I believe her to be among that "most likely to succeed" echelon, no matter her chosen field."