Dr. Chris Maria is an educator and researcher with over ten years’ experience in the classroom teaching middle, high school, and college students. She has taught high school English in Greeville County Schools and held tenure-track Assistant Professor of Education appointments at Claflin University (Orangeburg, SC) and USC Upstate (Spartanburg, SC).
Dr. Chris Maria earned a B.A in English from Wofford College (Spartanburg, SC), a M.Ed. in Secondary English from Converse College (Spartanburg, SC), and a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte). To complete her doctoral studies, she conducted a qualitative, phenomenological research study on the school experiences of teen moms who graduated in spite of a teen pregnancy. Dr. Chris Maria wanted to know students' school experience and how they graduated. Her goal was to share the findings to help more teen moms graduate, thereby reducing the almost 50% dropout rate among this student population.
To this end, she has published a book chapter, The Other Story: The Truth about Black Teen Moms, a peer-reviewed journal article in the South Carolina Teacher Education Journal (2014), and she was selected as a Power Session presenter at The South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Summer Institute 2017. See Testimonials for comments.
Dr. Chris Maria is committed to educating and equipping teen and single moms with tools to heal from abuse, prevent a repeat and/or future teen pregnancy, form healthy parent-child attachments, and increase their educational attainment. Her commitment grew out of her personal experience as the daughter of a teen/single mom and her research.
Dr. Chris Maria credits her mom's strong faith with her success in life. She cites the influences of her Christian upbringing as the reason she broke the cycle of teen pregnancy. It was her Christian upbringing that helped her survive the interpersonal violence and abuse prevalent her life as the child of a teen mom. She suffered in silence from the wounds of that childhood trauma for most of her young adult life until she read a report on Interpersonal Violence and Teen Pregnancy. That's when she began to heal. That was 12 years ago.
Today, Dr. Chris Maria leads Teen Moms BTC, a faith-based organization that ministers to the practical and emotional needs of teen and single mom. The mission of Teen Moms BTC is to educate and equip teen and single moms to (1) heal from interpersonal violence and abuse (2) form a healthy parent-child attachment, (3) prevent a repeat and/or future teen pregnancy with their daughters who are at an increased risk for teen pregnancy, and (4) increase their educational attainment.
Dr. Chris Maria is single and lives in Greer, South Carolina with her 10-year-old son.