Maria was born in Russia, lived 5 years of her childhood in Israel, and immigrated to the US one week before her 11th birthday. In addition to English, she speaks Russian and Hebrew, which were her primary languages at one time, and studied Spanish and Portuguese. She loves Duolingo, where she is learning the basics of a few other languages for fun.
Maria has been drawing and painting her whole life, and discovered sculpture in a high school ceramics class. As is often the case with her, at first her vision was ahead of her skill and for an entire year she did not produce a single finished piece. Every piece she started broke in her hands or exploded in the kiln. But the teacher took pity on her and gave her a B in the class, and she kept at it and eventually figured it out. Visual Arts Photo Gallery
Maria started ballroom dancing at age 14 after watching the movie Dirty Dancing. She joined the MIT Ballroom Dance Team, where she represented MIT in competitions and eventually served as a coach. Her titles include Northeast Regional Champion, North American Open Vice Champion (Pre-Championship International Latin), and Collegiate National Champion (Championship International Latin). Nowadays Maria no longer competes, but still dances socially, mostly Lindy Hop and Samba de Gafieira. Dance Photo Gallery