Where They Are Now: Dr. Maria Corona

Dr. Maria Corona is an ISU alum, former CWRTP graduate research assistant (GRA), and is currently the Executive Director of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICAVD). She believes the experiences she had writing project proposals, analyzing data, developing project ideas, and more helped prepare her for her exciting career. Dr. Corona was also recently selected as an Iowa STATEment Maker—“an honor that recognizes the early personal and professional accomplishments and contributions to society of Iowa State University's young alumni (graduates 34 years of age and under).”

Maria came to the US as an undocumented citizen at age 11. She overcame the challenges of enrolling in college and becoming a naturalized citizen. Her own experiences drove her commitment to improving the ISU campus climate for underrepresented groups. She became an outspoken advocate for justice, equality, and inclusiveness and co-founded the campus organization Latinos United for Change (LUCHA).

As a GRA, Maria developed a culturally appropriate model and tools for Human Services professionals working with Latina/Latino survivors of domestic violence. She collaborated with the Iowa Department of Human Services to raise awareness and contributed a cultural lens for professionals who work with children and families statewide.

Throughout her time as a GRA, Dr. Corona points to Dr. Jan Melby as a mentor. About Dr. Melby, Dr. Corona said, “I will forever be grateful to her and all her experience and wisdom. One special memory that I have is when she showed up to a community event where I was speaking. I invited her and I wasn't too sure if she would attend, but she did!”

Dr. Corona made the most of her time as a GRA and used it to propel her professional career. When asked what advice she would give to current or future GRAs, she said, “My advice would be to be patient with yourself. There is a lot to learn and you don't have to rush to it. A special advice to BIPOC students would be, imposter syndrome is real but you can overcome those thoughts and feelings; You BELONG there, it may not feel that way but you really do! Stay focused!”

Dr. Melby said, “Interacting with Maria through her GRA with CWRTP was indeed a privilege for me.  She brought curiosity, dedication, and enthusiasm to her projects.  It was a joy to observe the numerous ways she positively engaged with others. She was generous in sharing insights and collaborative in team discussions. In addition to other accomplishments, Maria received the highly competitive 2020 Futures Leaders Award from the American Association of Colleges and Universities, a well-deserved recognition of her numerous early personal and professional accomplishments and contributions to society. We at CWRTP are pleased that Maria was part of our team as a graduate research assistant and wish her every future success.”