Maria Valdovinos Olson is a doctoral candidate in public sociology at George Mason University and a research affiliate with the Movement Engaged Research Hub at the Center for Social Science Research. Her research interests include policing, prisoner reentry, and evidence-based policy. Maria’s dissertation comprises a series of essays on criminal legal reform and prisoner reentry in the era of decarceration and movement toward abolition. She is currently collecting data in support of an essay addressing the question of how existing and envisioned social institutions, systems, and policies can best organize the provision of care for the formerly incarcerated to promote desired outcomes. Other interests span into issues of safety, health, and wellness associated with the criminal legal system, focusing on both practitioners and individuals who have had direct system involvement. Maria is currently a doctoral co-PI on a National Institute of Justice funded project investigating the correlates of organizational stress on health and wellness outcomes among police and corrections officers.
Recent work has been published in Women & Criminal Justice, Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management and the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. From 2017-2020, Maria was a feature writer for The Sociologist, a District of Columbia Sociological Society Publication.
Maria received the 2017 Outstanding Sociology Graduate Student Award from the Mason Department of Sociology and Anthropology (SOAN). She has also been recognized as a Stanford Lyman Scholar (Mid-South Sociological Association, 2018), Provost and SOAN Research Fellow (Mason, 2018 & 2019), Ruth D. Peterson Fellow (American Society of Criminology, 2021), and Dean’s Challenge Scholar (Mason, 2021).