Maria Esquinca is a fronteriza. She was born in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and mostly grew up in El Paso, Texas. Maria is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing at the University of Miami and working on a poetry manuscript with a focus on documentary poetics. She previously earned a master’s at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
She was an Ethics and Excellence Fellow for News 21’s national investigation on water contamination, “Troubled Water.” The investigation won a 2018 Student Edward R Murrow Award for Excellence in Digital Reporting, a 2018 Nina Mason Pulliam Environmental Journalism Award for Environmental Reporting from the Arizona Press Club and the 2018 Pro-Am Student Award from the Online News Association. Her story about lack of access to clean, drinking water in colonias along the U.S.-Mexico border was republished in outlets like the Center for Public Integrity, the Texas Tribune and NBC.
Prior to that, she was an intern with the New York Times Student Journalism Institute and Crain’s Detroit Business. As a reporter and editor for The Prospector, the student newspaper at the University of Texas at El Paso, she focused her reporting on immigration and the Texas legislature. Her story on the Student Government Association’s budget won her a First Place for In-Depth Reporting from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association Awards.