Maria Perez has covered issues affecting immigrant and minority communities since 2013. Before joining the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, she covered minority affairs for the Naples Daily News. She won a 2017 George Polk Award for her investigation into Florida companies that profited from undocumented workers and, once they were injured, reported them to prosecutors instead of paying workers compensation. The project was done while she was an O'Brien Fellow in Public Service Journalism at Marquette University. She has also reported on cosmetic surgery clinics where dozens of patients died or got injured. Most of the deaths were of Hispanic and African American women. A native of Spain, Perez has a law degree as well as a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.