Maria Stewart Communications Consultant
Maria Stewart, PhD Founder and Owner of Growing Brilliance LLC

I founded Growing Brilliance in 2021 to serve two client bases

  • women scientists who need to strengthen their voice to professionally advance 
  • small businesses and farms that want to accelerate their own growth

Throughout my years as a student, as faculty in academia, and as an industry researcher, I learned how valuable my communication skills are.  I am here to guide women scientists along the journey of finding their voice so they can achieve their personal and professional goals.

My own farm business, Gorgeous Goat Creamery, has grown exponentially in the past 3 years based on my previous experiences securing grant funding, knowledge of food production and regulations, and opportunities in product development. I look forward to working with you on your small business journey.

Experience & Education

My professional journey has taken me from college-level instruction, academic research, and community education to large multinational food ingredients companies to founding and growing a small food business. Along the way, I have navigated the corporate food industry, leveraged resources from cooperative extension, managed relationships with local departments of health and agriculture. I’ve chaired scientific sessions at international conferences, made presentations to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and communicated the scientific basis for ingredient approvals to the FDA. All of these endeavors were successful because of my storytelling, relatability, clarity, and impact. My expertise in food and nutrition as well as strengths in scientific communication will accelerate your personal, professional and business growth.

My support for grant writing is not limited to the food industry or agriculture. Successful grant writing requires a “recipe” that transcends disciplines. Let’s chat about your needs.

Put my past experiences to work for you

8 years of experience teaching college courses and leading a grant-funded research program as a tenured faculty member

Undergraduate Teacher of the Year Award 2013, University of Hawaii

6 years of multinational food industry experience, focusing on food innovation

Over $222,000 in grant funding secured for small business growth, environmental management, and research

Preventive Controls Qualified Individual- FSPCA, meeting FDA requirements for food processing knowledge

Post Graduate Certificate-Food Quality Assurance & Regulatory Affairs, Temple University

PhD- Nutrition Science, University of Minnesota

MS- Nutrition Science, University of Minnesota

BS- Biochemistry, Northern Michigan University

Grants Awarded

USDA Value-Added Producer Grant: Expanding value-added goat dairy products in New Jersey

Award: $ 12,500

USDA NRCS-EQUIP: Sustainable forest rehabilitation

Award: $ 22,997

USDA- HATCH: Evaluation of nutrient content of Hawaii-grown avocados and identification of optimal harvest period

Award: $39,126 yr 1, $39,126 yr 2

USDA-HATCH: Gut Reactions: a pilot study linking digestive health with ethnicity and chronic disease risk in Hawaii

Award: $41,162

USDA-Specialty Crops Block Grant Farm Bill via Hawaii Department of Agriculture: Revealing the hidden health benefits of Hawaii grown avocado through nutrition education

Award: $25,000

USDA-HATCH: Improving health outcomes through nutrition: the glycemic index of high-amylose rice 

Award: $30,000

USDA-HATCH:  The Rice Paradox: selecting the optimal variety of rice for glycemic control and weight loss

Annual award: $20,000

USDA- Specialty Crops Block Grant Farm Bill via Hawaii Department of Agriculture:  Bioactive Compounds in Hawaiian Avocados and Tropical Fruit:  A Novel Marketing Tool for Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

Award: $14,930