Maria Duarte first joined the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) in August 2018 as a Research & Policy Intern. In May 2019, Maria transitioned to a full-time policy associate at AYPF.
Born in La Ceiba, Honduras, and raised in Miami, Florida, she received her Master of Arts degree in Educational Transformation with a concentration in Policy and Advocacy from Georgetown University. Maria actively advocates and supports justice-involved youth as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in the District of Columbia. Additionally, she is the CO Principal Investigator (PI) on a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) project funded by Georgetown’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The project focuses on analyzing factors contributing to high drop-out rates in a rural high school in Elixir, Saba, Colon, Honduras. A champion for educational and economic equity for disadvantaged youth, Maria’s six years of experience supporting underserved communities include working with vulnerable youth populations such as first-generation college students, students with (dis)abilities, youth experiencing neglect or abuse, and foster youth through research, teaching, and volunteering positions. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from the University of Florida.