María J. Schmidt is Assistant Dean for the Office of Education and Social Equity at Penn State’s College of Education. A native of Puerto Rico and a resident of State College since 1988, María has dedicated her life to addressing issues of educational equity and college access for underrepresented students. Throughout her professional career in Pennsylvania, she has engaged in a variety of endeavors, such as Blair and Centre Counties commissioner for the PA Governor’s Commission on Latino Affairs (2006-08), chaired the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (1999-2000), co-funded “Mujeres Bellas” a sociocultural group of Latinas in Centre County, volunteer as a translator for non-profit and social services organizations and enjoyed being the advisor to several student organizations. She received the 2005 Dr. James Robinson Equal Opportunity Award in recognition of her work in fostering diversity and service to underrepresented communities.
María holds a BS in Sociology with a minor in Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico (Río Piedras) and an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from The Pennsylvania State University.