Faculty Member Named as Emerging Scholar

by University Relations

Diverse Issues in Higher Education recognized Rachel Gonzales-Castaneda, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, as 1 of 12 Emerging Scholars of the Year in the January 2015 issue. The publication annually honors young scholars for the uniqueness of their fields of study and their commitment to teaching.

Castaneda’s upbringing influenced her career commitment focused on identifying effective ways to treat and prevent substance-abuse disorders among youth. At APU, she integrates Christian tenets into her work. “APU’s core principles around faith integration in scholarship have allowed me to explore how spirituality intersects with substance-abuse treatment elements that the secular academy tends to overlook,” said Castaneda. She works with students on research that explores faith and spirituality as a protective recovery process among substance-abusing youths. Castaneda invests that same passion in her own students. “I pour into students just as my professors did throughout my undergraduate training,” she said. Her dedication in the classroom inspires her students to consider how they can use their God-given talents and gifts to help others.

Her research has led to more than two dozen published articles and numerous funded projects that focus on substance-abuse prevention for high-risk youth. Her current work focuses on an innovative project aimed at developing effective aftercare interventions for youths using technology approaches like text messaging, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Originally published in the Spring '15 issue of APU Life. Download the PDF or view all issues.