Maria Gini received a degree in physics from the University of Milan in 1972. From 1974-1979 she was a Research Associate and from 1980-1982 a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Electronics in Politecnico of Milano in Italy. She then joined the Department of Computer Science at the University of Minnesota in 1982 as an Assistant Professor. She became the first female to join the department. While there she was promoted to Associate Professor in 1988 and to Professor in 1997. In 2001 Gini received the Distinguished Women Scholars Award from the University of Minnesota.
Since 2005 she has also been Associate Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. She was named an AAAI fellow in 2008 “for significant contributions to coordination and competition in multirobot and multiagent systems, for leadership in the AI community, and for inspiring the next generation”. In 2011, she received the Mullen-Spector-Truax Women’s Leadership Award from the University of Minnesota, presented annually to “a faculty or staff woman at the University who has made outstanding contributions to women’s leadership development”. Gini was also named an IEEE fellow in 2018. As of 2019, she has graduated 34 Ph.D students as well as nearly 100 graduate students.