University of California, Riverside


Maria Simani Maria Simani Executive Director, California Science Project

Topics: Science Education

Preferred Media: Print, Radio, Video

Languages Spoken: English, Italian

Contact Card

Tel: (951) 827-3111

Media Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
Tel: (951) 827-6050


Simani currently leads a statewide network of centers that provide professional development and strategies for teachers to improve science learning for students in grades K-12.

Her work identifies and addresses barriers that create gaps in opportunities for students to access STEM fields. Her research focuses in particular on increasing the percentage of economically disadvantaged and minority students that pursue STEM careers. Simani also has expertise in areas of education research and evaluation and has conducted evaluation of programs with schools, school districts, community colleges and private foundations.

Simani is a physicist by training and served as an associate research scientist at the Particle Physics Division at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. She first joined UC Riverside as the P-20 Regional Alliance Director at UCR’s Academy for Learning through Partnerships for Higher Achievement (ALPHA) Center.

She earned her Ph.D. from Vrije Universiteit in 2002.

On Science Education

Simani is available to comment on K-20 education in California; science and math education/education research; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) issues; women and minorities in science; state and national science and mathematics education policies; and issues related to preparation, induction and retention of science teachers.