Born and raised in Curitiba, Brazil, she graduated summa cum laude from Tulane University (New Orleans) in 2011, with a BA in international relations, history, and French. Mariana spent a semester abroad in Paris, France, where she had the opportunity to study international relations and history at the Sorbonne. During her undergraduate program, she spent some time at The Hague, researching the International Court of Justice and in New York at the United Nations. Upon her return, she wrote an honors thesis on the effectiveness of the United Nations in humanitarian intervention. From 2007 to 2011 Mariana worked as an RA and collaborated on research on the subject of authoritarian regimes in Chile, Brazil and Argentina, on the consolidation of democracy in Latin America, participatory budgets and government reform in Brazil.
As a Sié fellow at the Josef Korbel School, Mariana also works as a research assistant for the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research, collecting data and cataloguing major nonviolent and violent resistance campaigns for the NAVCO Data Project.