An assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (Gerontology Program), Dr. Maria Claver is notable for her commitment to enhancing quality of life through community involvement and her research.
Dr. Claver is widely recognized in her hometown of Whittier as a community leader dedicated to diverse causes. She has helped raise funds for Whittier's Relay for Life event as Event Co-Chair, Team Development Chair and Team Captain, and currently serves on the Governing Board of Directors for Whittier Hospital Medical Center.
She has served as membership chair and grant writer for the Whittier Conservancy, a non-profit organization formed in the wake of the 1987 earthquake with the goal of protecting historical buildings and natural hillsides. Since 2009, she has secured more than $125,000 in grants to plant trees, pay for a professional assessment of a historical building and build a rest station along the Greenway Trail.
Dr. Claver also runs her own non-profit foundation called the Ozzy Foundation. Named for her cat that was diagnosed with kidney failure, the foundation works with local veterinary clinics and rescue groups to help people with costly veterinary bills. In addition, she co-founded the Whittier Dog Park Task Force, dedicated to successfully advocating for a dog park in Whittier.
Dr. Claver's research focuses on two areas: 1) best practices in service learning and 2) emergency management, especially in nursing homes. She continues to conduct research at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System where she completed her master's internship in the inpatient geriatric ward and the out-patient geriatric clinic.
She has received numerous awards for her work, including a Distinguished Faculty Scholarly and Creative Achievement Award, a curricular development award through the Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership to develop curriculum about ethics, and awards from the Center for Community Engagement. She also received the Betty and James E. Birren Emerging Leadership Award from the California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics in recognition of her advancement of the field in California.