Maria has enjoyed a multicultural and interdisciplinary education and work experience. After finishing her baccalaureate degree in her native country of Greece and her Master’s in the European degree program, (with long-term study in both Belgium and Finland), Maria completed her PhD in nutrition and exercise science, specializing in movement studies in disability and exercise psychology. Now an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, she focuses her research on improving the health and quality of life for older adults and those with physical disabilities. Since 2002, she has published 11 peer-reviewed journal articles and delivered 32 national or international presentations.
In 2007, Maria received the Mabel Lee Award from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) for her gift of engaging students in critical thinking and reflection, and her promise as an international leader in her field, and her scholarship that is theoretically based and methodologically sophisticated. She was acknowledged for her pioneering work in designing and testing web-based physical activity interventions that have application for those with physical disabilities and others. She recently presented as an invited speaker at the International Scientific Congress in Seoul, Korea. This year, she was awarded the Emerging Scholar Award on Health, Wellness, and Disability and obtained Fellow status in the Research Consortium of AAHPERD.