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BS in Psychology and Sociology
“Brockport is a great place to grow. It’s a place where students can confidently achieve their true potential.”
Juan Castaneda has always had a passion for helping others. From helping his family whenever possible to assisting both students and the community, he is always willing to lend a hand whenever he can.
Juan, of Brockport, NY, is a double major in psychology and sociology. His passion for helping others and his interest in understanding human interaction and society are what enticed him into the two fields of study.
Juan works with the Brockport Migrant Education Opportunity Program as a tutor-advocate, English as a Second Language instructor, and a teaching assistant in their summer school. The program assists migrant farm-worker families and their children in developing life skills and attaining an education.
Juan’s greatest accomplishment at Brockport has been designing a peer mentoring program that will be implemented for the Department of Psychology. “The goal is to have upperclassmen help out lowerclassmen in career goals and study skills improvement. It would be a ‘Big Brother/Big Sister-type’ program.” Last year Juan was president of the Psychology Club, this year he advised new officers, helping them maintain and advance the organization.
A person who has influenced Juan’s education is Assistant Professor of Psychology Matthew Mulvaney. “When I did my thesis, I wanted to make sure that it was a significant contribution to the psychology literature regarding immigrant Hispanic families. It was a challenging process that involved countless hours of background reading, interviewing, and data analysis, and Dr. Mulvaney helped me ensure that I took all of the right steps.”
Following his thesis, Juan continued research in several other areas in the social sciences, such as body image and social comparison, the social experience of persons with celiac disease, peer mentoring programs, cross-cultural psychology, and family systems. He has presented his research at various conferences, such as the National Science Foundation summer presentations, McNair National Conference, and Scholars Day at SUNY Brockport. Most recently, he presented at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, presenting his honors thesis, “Acculturative Stress, Acculturation Gaps, and Family Dysfunction among Mexican-Migrant Farm-Worker Families.”
As the recipient of the State University of New York Award for Student Excellence and the Sigma Xi Award for research in psychology, Juan continuously proves himself to be an extraordinary scholar. He is a member of the Brockport Honors Program, Alpha Kappa Delta sociology honor society, Psi Chi psychology honor society, and Alpha Chi honor society, which inducts only the top 10 percent of students in each academic field. Dr. Mulvaney states, “Juan is hard-working, intelligent, and absolutely committed to developing as a student in the field of psychology. He demonstrates an incredible capacity for research and uses his research as a tool to help improve the well-being of underserved communities."
Brockport has been a great influence on Juan’s scholarly career. “The professors at Brockport encourage you to research and develop academic creativity. They have given me a sense of professionalism, and have taught me what it takes to succeed as an academic. I am so grateful to have come here for my undergraduate studies. I know I will take with me valuable skills that will allow me to succeed in graduate school.”
Due to his passion for helping others, Juan’s future goals include pursuing his PhD in counseling psychology. He plans on a career as a university psychology professor and a practicing therapist. “I feel most avid about helping those in and outside the classroom. I want to assist students and families in the best ways I can.”