Maya Buenaventura

Photo of Maya Buenaventura
Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


J.D., Northwestern University; M.Phil. in Public Policy, Pardee RAND Graduate School;


Maria Angela (Maya) Buenaventura is a Ph.D. candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her dissertation is a process and impact evaluation of Santa Monica’s Homeless Community Court. She works in criminal justice policy and program evaluation.

At RAND, Buenaventura has collected and analyzed quantitative and qualitative data for a number of evaluations of programs targeting vulnerable populations and justice-involved individuals. She has evaluated Louisiana’s public defender system, criminal justice responses to sexual assault, indigent defense in the Bronx, a youth development program delivered in high schools, and a home-visiting program for low-income mothers.

Prior to RAND, she was a commercial litigator at an international law firm where her practice encompassed a wide range of matters, including product liability and consumer finance. She also served as a pro bono attorney for a number of human rights organizations, including Kids in Need of Defense, Asylum Access, the Midwest Immigrant and Human Rights Center’s Anti-Trafficking Project, and Northwestern Law School’s Juvenile Asylum and Refugee Clinic. 

She graduated cum laude from the Northwestern University School of Law, and summa cum laude from Oglethorpe University with a degree in economics. She is literate and conversational in Spanish and DELF B1-certified in French. Her interests include criminal justice policy, program evaluation, empirical legal studies, immigration and border enforcement, healthcare, legislation of technology and cyberspace, and alternative dispute resolution and law reform.

Selected Publications

M. A. Buenaventura, "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Georgia’s Proposed Dream Act: A Bill to Grant In-State Tuition to Undocumented Students in Georgia," Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, 0, 2016

Maria Angela Buenaventura, "Torture in the Living Room," Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 0, 2007

Maria Angela Buenaventura, "Teaching a Man to Fish: Why National Legislation Anchored in Notice and Consent Provisions Is the Most Effective Solution to the Spyware Problem," Richmond Journal of Law and Technology, 0, 2006

Maria Angela Buenaventura, "When Charity Doesn’t Start at Home," Women Lawyers Journal, 0, 2006

Goldman, Charles; Schweig, Jonathan; Buenaventura, Maya; and Wright, Cameron, Geographic and Demographic Representativeness of Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, RAND Corporation (RR-1712), 2017

Cannon, Jill S; Kilburn, M. Rebecca; Karoly, Lynn A.; Mattox, Teryn; Muchow, Ashley; and Buenaventura, Maya, Investing Early: Taking Stock of Outcomes and Economic Returns from Early Childhood Programs, RAND Corporation (RR-1993), 2017 (forthcoming)

Cefalu, Matthew; Buenaventura, Maya, Toolkit for Weighting and Analysis of Nonequivalent Groups: A Tutorial on the TWANG MNPS Commands for Stata Users, RAND Corporation (TL-170z1), 2017

Maria Angela Buenaventura "Expedited Removal," in Judith Ann Warner, Battleground Immigration, Greenwood Press, 2008

Honors & Awards

  • Haynes Lindley Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, The Haynes Foundation
  • James Q. Wilson Dissertation Award, Pardee RAND Graduate School


Spanish; French