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MIND Research Institute’s Diversity Partnerships Manager Honored by OC Register Metro as One of 10 Women to Watch

Irvine, Calif., Mar 11, 2014 Maria Cervantes, Diversity Partnerships Manager at the neuroscience and education nonprofit MIND Research Institute, has been named to OC Register Metro magazine’s 10 Women to Watch for 2014.

Cervantes and her fellow honorees were recognized March 10 at an awards event held at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Calif.

“It’s a joy to see our community recognize the stellar qualities Maria brings to MIND Research Institute each and every day,” said MIND Research CEO and Chairman Ted Smith. “She is a true champion of children’s education and works tirelessly to advance our mission of ensuring that all students are mathematically equipped to solve global challenges.”

OC Register Metro’s tradition of honoring the region’s most creative and enterprising women dates back to 1991. According to the magazine’s Women to Watch issue, Cervantes — dubbed “fundraising dynamo” — joins a group of pioneers who represent Orange County’s leading industries and organizations.

“I am extremely thankful for and humbled by this recognition from OC Register Metro,” Cervantes said. “To be in the company of such inspiring individuals is an amazing honor and a testament to the extraordinary opportunities I’ve been given as part of the MIND Research family. Each day I get to work with extraordinary people who are committed to helping all students excel in math and prepare for academic and professional success. I’m truly fortunate.”

For more than 14 years, Cervantes has been advocating for children’s well-being and access to quality education. She joined MIND Research in 2002, after working for the Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Center and the Santa Ana Unified School District. With encouragement from her supervisor, she returned to school while working full time at MIND Research and pursued a bachelor’s in human services at California State University, Fullerton. She graduated in 2008, while her son was in the first grade.

A decade after beginning her MIND Research career at the reception desk, Cervantes became the organization’s first Diversity Partnerships Manager. She has helped raise more than $4 million, making it possible for MIND Research to introduce its unique Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math® instructional software program to tens of thousands of classrooms across the country. Her vision also helped found MIND Research’s Diversity Council.

In addition to OC Register Metro’s 10 Women to Watch, Cervantes in 2013 received the Comerica Bank Best of LA Women’s Business Award for Woman of Diversity and was named an inaugural Fun Fearless Latina by Cosmopolitan for Latinas.

About MIND Research Institute
MIND Research Institute is an education nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world's most challenging problems. MIND's distinctive visual approach to math and problem-solving is the basis of its innovative, research-proven ST Math® programs for elementary and secondary schools. MIND's programs currently reach over 630,000 students and 25,000 teachers in 2,050 schools in 35 states. For more information, visit

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