Annalisa Strauss-Hughes

Victoria University of Wellington

Annalisa completed a Bachelor of Arts (psychology and classical studies) in 2016 at Victoria university. During this time, she discovered a passion for forensic psychology, particularly for the explanation of criminal behaviour, and strengths-based rehabilitation. Towards the end of her degree, Annalisa began to reconnect with her cultural roots after taking a cross-cultural psychology paper and becoming a mentor for Te Rōpu Āwhina (a whānau group for Māori/Pasifika students). Although her own whakapapa is unknown due to family disconnection and adoption, members of her whānau whakapapa back to Ngāti Porou, Ngai Tuhoe, Ngaiterangi, and Te Arawa. She developed an interest in the role of culture, and particularly the use of mātauranga Māori, in psychological research and practice.

Annalisa’s postgraduate research reflects the intersection of these interests. In 2017, she entered the Masters of Forensic Psychology programme at Victoria, and will submit her MSc thesis in March 2019. Annalisa has developed a theoretical approach to understanding the role of culture in explanation of offending, with implications for forensic practice. She continues to volunteer for Te Rōpu Āwhina, and has also worked as an intern in the research/evaluation team at the Department of Corrections, a research assistant for a member of the Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research department, and regularly tutors an undergraduate forensic psychology course. She also began the Postgraduate Diploma of Clinical Psychology in 2018 at Victoria.

After her MSc, Annalisa will begin her PhD, building on her masters’ thesis. This project will take a more practical approach, using qualitative research to ground her theory of cultural-forensic explanation in a real-world context. She is passionate about understanding better the impacts of cultural processes and factors, such as marginalisation and colonisation, on offending behaviour, to better support individuals to desist from crime and live meaningful, fulfilling lives.