"I am an oil brat seeking redemption" jokes Maria.
Born in India to parents of Mangalorean descent, Maria was raised in Saudi Arabia and Calgary, where her parents worked for the oil industry. Her father was a chemical engineer, where he worked on the initial processing of oil as it was first extracted, while her mother worked in human resources in the development of graduate hires. Maria moved to Kingston to do her undergraduate degree at Queen’s University, and did an exchange to the University of Edinburgh in her third year. It was that year in Edinburgh that cemented her decision to do her Masters, and eventually her PhD, at the London School of Economics in environmental policy.
These days she is living in London working as a policy analyst at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment, and her current project focuses on energy and climate policy research. "So the irony of my research is not lost me, but I think of it as helping transition to the next generation of energy." Her work takes her all over the world: Oslo & Bratislava being next on her list in the following weeks.
Her family has settled in Toronto, but Maria has no plans to return to Canada in the immediate future. "I used to envision moving every 5 years or so" she explained, "just like Peter Pan, never growing up. But it has been 10 years since I first came to London, and I am pretty settled here, so it looks like there is a glimmer of hope that one day I will grow up. Then again, I just started performing stand up comedy, so hopefully whatever happens, I will not lose a sense of joie de vivre. ”