Jeanett Castellanos

Jeanett Castellanos, social sciences undergraduate associate dean and professor of teaching, has been elected to a three-year term on the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Board of Directors. The leadership role positions Castellanos as one of 18 organizational changemakers within the national non-profit focused on developing and increasing representation of Latinx faculty, senior administrators and students in higher ed.

“I am deeply honored to be elected as a board member of the AAHHE. This invitation holds very serious responsibilities,” Castellanos says. “AAHHE’s vision is to create a radical shift in equity policies and leadership among higher education institutions to effectively address the needs of Latinx/a/o/é communities. Empowerment, advocacy, and social justice are at the core of its mission.”

Her research merges the fields of counseling and higher education with a particular focus on Latinx populations. She’s published widely on the topics including multiple studies in peer-review journals and three books, The Minority in the Majority: Expanding the Representation of Latina/o Faculty, Administrators and Students in Higher Education, The Latina/o Pathway to the Ph.D.: Abriendo Caminos, and her newest work, Riding the Academic Freedom Train: A Culturally Responsive Multigenerational Mentoring Model.

Castellanos applies her research to the hundreds of undergraduate lives she has touched through her tireless passion to help students succeed. She mentors dozens of racial ethnic minority undergrads each year on how to conduct individual, data-oriented research projects - many of which have resulted in published articles and book chapters. In her 20+ years as a member of the UCI social sciences faculty, she’s helped place more than 200 students in graduate school – a third at the doctoral level. Her efforts have also resulted in thousands of dollars in grant funding that have allowed students who otherwise may not have been able to afford it, the opportunity to travel and participate in research conferences and competitive programs across the nation in preparation for graduate school.

She’s racked up 7 awards highlighting her service beyond the classroom. In 2007, she received the Samuel M. Turner MENTOR (Minority Education, Nurturing, Training, Organizational advocacy, and Research) Award from the American Psychological Association; in 2008, she received the Star Vega Community Service Award from the National Latinx Psychological Association (NLPA); and in 2012 she received the Outstanding Support of Hispanics in Higher Education Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHEE). In 2014, she received the prestigious UCI Living Our Values award. In 2016-17, she received UCI’s Academic Senate Distinguished Faculty Award for Mentorship, an award which highlights faculty who have made outstanding contributions through mentoring of students or other faculty that takes place outside of a traditional teaching or research relationship and beyond their formal advising duties. In 2018, NLPA created the Jeanett Castellanos Mentorship award in recognition of her commitment to mentorship and contributions to the field of Latinx psychology. And in 2020, she received the Distinguished Career in Service Award from the Society for Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race – part of the American Psychological Association Division 45 – in recognition of her continued dedicated service to communities of color through research, mentorship and work in the field of psychology and higher education.

Castellanos is a first-gen college graduate and scholar. She completed her bachelor’s in sociology and psychology at UCI with honors, and her master’s in counseling and doctorate in educational administration at Washington State University. She served one year as a postdoctoral fellow at Indiana University, Bloomington before coming back home to UCI in 1998.

In her newly elected role with AAHHE, Castellanos is looking forward to serving the AAHHE BOD by promoting pathways of success for Latinx students, faculty, and staff in higher education, providing leadership on standing committees, and assisting with governance and organizational policies.

“This honorable invitation offers the opportunity to engage with great scholars/professionals/communities who create a collective synergy to shape creative initiatives addressing today’s critical Latinx issues in higher education,” she says. “I look forward to an exciting journey of collaboration that holds great promise for social change!”

connect with us


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766