As VP of Institutional Research and Planning, Mara leads a collaborative, integrated, multi-domain team that provides information, analytical, and consulting services to enhance decision-making and planning at Boston College. Included in the office of Institutional Research and Planning are: Institutional Research, Space Planning and Strategic Services.

Born in Manila, she left to study art history — not from slides — and received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and MA from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She pursued her interest in cultural intersections, art, and design at New York arts organizations including the auction house Christie’s and the Frick Art Reference Library, before discovering the opportunities and challenges of art school administration, first at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis, and then at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). At RISD she initially served as Special Assistant to the President and since 2015 as founding Vice President of Integrated Planning. In her 10 years at RISD, Mara oversaw two strategic planning processes and a joint comprehensive re-accreditation.

She is the co-editor of The Art of Critical Making: Rhode Island School of Design on Creative Practice (Wiley, 2013) and co-author of At Home with Filipino Art and Artists (Anvil, 2001). She also served as editor of Spanish Artists from the Fourth to the Twentieth Century: A Critical Dictionary (GK Hall, 1996) and Lamesa: The Filipino Table (Anvil, 1999). Her professional activities include membership on the Commission on Accreditation of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and service on accreditation visiting teams for New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE) and NASAD. She has spoken nationally on planning, assessment, and critical issues in art and design education.

An avid swimmer, she also enjoys traveling with her family, contemporary fashion and design, and international cuisine.