Maria Cruz is a Master of Arts student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Saskatchewan, under the supervision of Dr. Colleen Dell. Her research interests include feminist criminology and mental health and addictions. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and The Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science and Justice Studies, her thesis project partners with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan to apply a gender-informed approach to mental health assessment in Canadian prisons.
As a research assistant with the Office of One Health and Wellness, she has worked on various projects, including Combatting Engineering Student Stress in the Classroom and The ‘Pawsitive’ Impacts of Therapy Dog Visits with Adult Emergency Department Pain Patients at the Royal University Hospital. She has also been involved in the therapy dog program at the Regional Psychiatric Centre (RPC). Currently, Maria is the research assistant the Health Canada Substance Use and Addictions Program project, titled A PAWSitive Support Program for Veterans with PTSD and who Problematically Use Substances. This project focuses on the creation of a distance-distributed, peer support program for Canadian veterans diagnosed with PTSD and a substance use disorder.
Maria grew up in Richmond, British Columbia and moved to Saskatoon for the opportunity to conduct research at RPC. With a passion for patient-oriented research, Maria aims to study medicine and pursue forensic psychiatry upon completion of her Masters degree. She would like to continue working with women in prison to better address their needs pertaining to mental illness.
MA in Sociology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK (in progress)
BA (Hons) in Sociology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK
BSc in Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
Canadian Sociological Association, Most Outstanding Graduating Student Award, Undergraduate.
Competing Discourses: Masculinity and Seeking Mental Health Assistance in Canadian Policing.
Date: June 2019
Conference: 2019 Canadian Sociological Association Conference, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
Authors: Cruz, M. T. & Thompson, S.
The Impact of Service Dogs in the Lives of Veterans who Problematically Use Opioids.
Date: October 2019
Conference: Animal-Human Relationship Conference, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK
Authors: Cruz, M. T., Gibson, M., Williamson, L., Chalmers, D., Osgoode, N., & Dell, C.
Maria and her family dog, Chiquita, at home in BC, Canada.