Valeria was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas, which is found "on the border by the sea". She moved to Austin in 2012 to attend the University of Texas at Austin, and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Biology in 2016. Due to her love for animals and conservation, she worked as a sea turtle research assistant in Costa Rica and at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Oregon. In 2018, she decided to come back to Texas and became a zookeeper at the Austin Zoo. Working with animals made her even more passionate about conservation, so in the summer of 2020 she pursued her Master's in Biology with a focus in conservation through Project Dragonfly from Miami University. Working towards her graduate degree has made her realize the importance of nature equity, community engagement, and youth education for successful conservation and the future of our planet. Therefore, Valeria decided to become a teacher in hopes and determination of creating a positive impact on her students and foster a love for the natural world since she strongly believes our youth are the future. On her free time, Valeria enjoys bike riding, spending time with her family and dogs, traveling to new places, reading about nature and fiction, and playing her guitar.