Maria Sanchez-Rodriguez

High School: Notre Dame Preparatory, Class of 2017

Building Bridges Advocate: Terri Krasicky

College: B.S. Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, Grand Valley State University

Current Role: Ph.D. Student in Counseling Psychology, Western Michigan University

A first-generation high school graduate and college student, Maria has faced numerous obstacles while striving to find the academic success that she has achieved. Growing up, it was hard for her to understand why her parents worked so many hours, couldn’t help her with homework, and why they weren’t as wealthy as some of her friends’ families, but now she understands and values the sacrifices that they made to support her and drive her success.


Maria credits both Building Bridges and Notre Dame Preparatory as catalysts for college and her future. Because of her Advanced Placement (AP)/International Baccalaureate (IB) high school courses at Notre Dame Prep, she entered college with 24 credit hours completed. Now, as a neuroscientist, she is fascinated with the brain and spinal cord, and how they work. Her doctoral research is focused on prevention and intervention of child maltreatment, and she is currently working on publishing an article on prevention and intervention strategies for Latinx communities in which child maltreatment may exist. Her dream is to open a private counseling practice in Michigan focused on children and to eradicate child maltreatment across the globe.
Personally, Maria’s ultimate goal is to be pentalingual: a person who speaks five languages. She already speaks English and Spanish, but, in the future, would like to learn Italian while living in Italy, Greek while living in Greece, and Arabic while living in the Middle East. She believes that continuing to improve her global communication skills will help her end the child maltreatment epidemic around the world.


How can you help Maria today?

An experienced researcher, Maria is looking for a child maltreatment internship in a clinic (like the Beaumont Mental Health Hospital or Grand Valley State Crisis Center), a private psychology practice, or other similar opportunities for next fall/winter. If you or someone within your network can connect her with a potential opportunity, please contact