Hi I’m Maria Strangas
STEM Education and Mentoring
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
I am a scientist and educator dedicated to building connections between scientific research and youth education. Motivated by making the field of STEM accessible and inclusive, I prepare youth to pursue the career paths they choose while I engage with educators and science practitioners to create inclusive educational environments. One of my favorite ways to do this is by promoting and teaching strong mentorship in STEM.
I work at the American Museum of Natural History where I am Assistant Director of Science Research Experiences in Youth Initiatives. I currently oversee the Science Research Mentoring Program and the Science Research Mentoring Consortium, a group of 25 sites across NYC providing mentored research opportunities to high schoolers. I also serve as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University where I teach in the Senior Thesis Seminar for Environmental Sciences.
I love integrative research that draws from multiple subfields of biology to understand how subtle differences in environment impact how organisms live and move, and how lineages evolve.
Most of my work has been been with lizards - and a bit with turtles and frogs - in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest and the Hudson Highlands of New York State.
Specifically, my doctoral research combined phylogeographic and landscape genetic data, thermophysiology, morphology, remote sensing and microhabitat temperature data to understand how the environment in the past has influenced the genetic and functional patterns we see today.
Most recently, I've worked with high school and college students on projects related to temperature tolerances and species distributions of lizard species and box turtle microhabitat site selection.