Maren earned her PhD in early American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After earning her PhD, Maren worked as an adjunct for several years before deciding to leave academia. She first worked as a consultant with the American Historical Association and the Chronicle of Higher Education, researching career outcomes for PhDs. In 2017, she founded Beyond the Professoriate with the mission of empowering PhDs to consider the range of career options available to them in the creative economy. She regularly writes for Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education.