Mayra was born and raised in the San Juan Metropolitan Area in Puerto Rico, later moving to a small coastal town in the main island. She studied Natural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón, and performed socio-ecological research to understand the impacts of historical urban wetland management over low-income communities in the island. She uses remote sensing to map green spaces and ecosystem services, study their distribution across urban-rural gradients, and identify provisioning and accessibility patterns in relation to local demographics.
Eventually she carried her research to study communities and natural resource management in the Chicago metropolitan region as well as other large U.S. metro areas. She obtained her PhD in Urban Ecology in 2021 at Purdue University. In the meantime, Mayra also led and collaborated in projects relating to urban systems and small rural communities across Mexico, Argentina, and Bolivia.
Mayra is experienced in spatial mapping, ecological modeling and social surveying. She promotes community engagement in scientific research and sustainability through workshops, seminars, and data collection that incentivize green space and natural resource management.