Maria Jesus is currently a Conservation Botanist at California Botanic Garden (CalBG). She is committed to the advancement of native plant conservation, mentoring emerging botanists, and increasing public support and understanding of plant science. Maria recently earned her MS in Botany from CalBG/Claremont Graduate University where she studied the flora of the southern Inyo Mountains – a regionally important plant area in eastern California that is threatened by mining development. By thoroughly documenting the plant diversity of this region, including rare plant occurrences, she has helped stakeholders understand the impacts that future projects may have on this intact landscape. Before beginning her studies at CalBG, Maria managed a multi-agency vegetation monitoring program aimed at informing adaptive management of public lands in California and Nevada. The collaborative nature of this work taught her the ways in which scientific research can be used to inform land management decisions, especially in the context of a multiple-use mission where consideration must be given to several, sometimes contradictory, interests. Maria is passionate about sharing her botanical knowledge and loves mentoring people who are interested in pursuing a career in natural resources. At a time when humans are dramatically impacting the environment through climate change and rapid development, it seems imperative to have seasoned botanists who can articulate the corresponding impacts to plants which form the basis of all life on earth. While serving as a program coordinator for the Great Basin Institute, she had the great privilege of mentoring several dozen AmeriCorps Interns by providing training in field botany and offering career guidance. Maria earned her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Washington and is grateful for her own rich internship experiences which allowed her to transition to a career in botany.