In 2013, Mariena received her B.S. degree in Biology from Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania. She then moved to Michigan to attend Central Michigan University where she first developed an interest and love for the microscopic world of diatoms and algae. She received her M.S. degree in Biology from CMU in 2016 where her thesis focused on diel oxygen swings in a Pennsylvania stream and the relationship with nutrients and primary production. Mariena is interested in diatoms relationship with environmental factors and how these may be changing with climate change and human interactions.