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Master’s Graduate Running on Her Own Path

minute read

Maria Trivino doesn’t stop moving. She runs. She swims. She works full-time. And for the last two years she’s been working on her master’s degree in Cannabis Science and Medicine at CU Pharmacy.



Maria Trivino during the NYC half marathon in March 2023.

After getting a degree in chemistry from Binghampton University, and swimming for the university during her time there, she graduated and took a position in construction project management. Trivino decided quickly that she wanted a master’s degree and began to study for her GRE.

Then, COVID. Like everything else in the past four years, COVID. GRE test centers closed. Universities went online. 

“So, then I went, ‘alright, what am I going to do?’” she said. 

Trivino’s career goal is to work in cannabis science research management, and she stumbled upon CU Pharmacy’s Master of Science in Cannabis Science and Medicine program by chance. 

“I contacted Dr. [David] Kroll, [at CU Pharmacy],” she explained, “and I said, ‘hey, I see that you’re doing this Masters’, and because of the pandemic it was remote, so it worked out perfectly for me.” 

Her initial idea was to move to Denver after the pandemic, but she is a (nearly) life-long New Yorker. Trivino’s New York loyalty runs deep, and being close to her family in Queens is important. She stayed in the city, working full-time and going to school full-time at CU Anschutz. 

“I come from a family where I had to choose a career in STEM,” Trivino explained. “So, having a bachelors in chemistry and exposing myself to the pharmaceutical sciences field, deepens my desire to get involved in clinical trial project management.” 

CU Pharmacy’s Cannabis Science and Medicine master’s degree is a unique animal. Built to allow generous flexibility in its timeline, self-directed learning modules, and far-reaching engagement, it also requires a one-of-a-kind student, who is a dedicated, self-starter, to succeed. 

Dr. Kroll, director of the Master’s Degree and Certificate programs, says that Trivino is just this kind of student. 

“She is one of the hardest workers I’ve known,” he said.

Dr. Kroll had to get creative when it came time for Trivino’s capstone project. She needed a mentor, one who was local, so he personally reached out to one of his own contacts, an adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia University, Alyson Martin, to see if she could help. Though journalism seems like a stretch, Martin is the founder of the Cannabis Wire, one of the leading news organizations reporting on the global cannabis industry. 

“Dr. Kroll asked Alyson if she would be willing to mentor me, because she is here in the city, and she was down to do it, so luckily it worked out for me,” Trivino explained. “My first topic is on the proliferation of illegal cannabis storefronts in NYC, and I’m learning about federal housing and cannabis legislation in the state.” 

The pairing worked, and Trivino has been able to pilot a completely remote capstone project. 

This spring, she graduates and is excited to begin searching for a new job where she can apply her new degree. And this fall, because she does not stop moving, she is running the NYC Marathon, through the city that she loves.

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