Elena G. Maker Castro

Assistant Professor of Psychology



Pettengill Hall, Room 370




  • B.A. Education Studies- Human Development Track, Brown University (2013)
  • M.A. Cross Cultural Education and English as a Second Language, Brown University (2017)
  • Ph.D. Education- Human Development and Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles (2023)

Courses Taught

  • PSYC 240 Developmental Psychology (Fall 2023, Winter 2024)
  • PSYC 379 The Development of Youth Community Engagement (Fall 2024)
  • EDUC/PSY 274 Educational Psychology (Winter 2024)

Research Interests

My research focuses on how adolescents and young adults pursue social change and civic engagement in relation to their developmental trajectories, contexts, and social identities (e.g., their racial-ethnic and gender identities). I use civic engagement and sociopolitical development frameworks and I often consider youth’s civic development in relation to their wellbeing. I situate my work within the contemporary sociopolitical climate and seek to build collaborative research relationships with local and national community and research partners. I also strive to contribute to Maine’s thriving civic life through better understanding and amplifying youth leaders. 

At Bates, I work with undergraduate students in the Youth Action and Community Transformation (Youth ACT) Lab, where we study young people’s social change efforts. Please reach out to me if you are interested in joining the lab or are a community partner interested in a research collaboration.

Selected Publications

* denotes undergraduate student co-author

  1. Ballard, P. J., Maker Castro, E., Karras, J., & Cohen, A. K. (2023). Exploring how a school-based intervention (Generation Citizen) supports critical consciousness development. In L. Rapa & E. Godfrey (Eds.), Critical Consciousness: Expanding Theory and Measurement. Cambridge University Press
  2. Quiles, T., Hoyt, L. T., *Dotson, M. P., Maker Castro, E., *May, M., & Cohen, A. K. (2023). Who has to act?: Examining emerging adults’ Critical Consciousnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. American Journal of Community Psychology, 71(1-2), 136-146.
  3. Suzuki, S., Quiles, T. B., & Maker Castro, E. (2023). Critical action among Asian and Hispanic/Latinx youth: Identifying a multidimensional measure and exploring within‐group differences. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology33(2), 406-424.
  4. Maker Castro, E., Wray-Lake, L., & Cohen, A. K. (2022). Critical Consciousness and Wellbeing in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Systematic Review. Adolescent Research Review, 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40894-022-00188-3. Online ahead of print. 
  5. Maker Castro, E., *Medina, C., & Suárez-Orozco, C. (2022) “Everyone Has Their Story”: Intergroup Dialogue’s Potential to Cultivate Connection Through the Sharing of Migration Narratives. Psychology in the Schools. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22801. Online ahead of print. 
  6. Maker Castro, E., López Hernández, G., Karras, J., Novoa, A., The New Generation Class, & Suárez-Orozco, C. (2022). “Everyone Collaborated and Came Together”: The Civic Promise (and Pitfalls) of yPAR for Immigrant-Origin Students in an Era of Deportation. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 28(3), 427-439. https://doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000429
  7. Maker Castro, E., Dull, B., Hoyt, L. T., & Cohen, A. K. (2022). Associations between critical consciousness and well‐being in a national sample of college students during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Journal of Community Psychology, 50(2), 760-777. http://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22678
  8. Karras, J. E., Maker Castro, E., & Emuka, C. (2022). Examining the sociopolitical development of immigrant-origin youth during a season of social unrest. Journal of Research on Adolescence. https://doi.org/10.1111/jora.12777. Online ahead of print.
  9. Wilf, S., Maker Castro, E., *Garzon Gupta, K., & Wray-Lake, L. (2022). Shifting culture and minds: immigrant origin youth building critical consciousness on social media. Youth and Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/0044118X221103890. Online ahead of print. 
  10. *Dotson, M. P., Maker Castro. E., *Magid, N. T., Hoyt, L. T., Suleiman, A. B., & Cohen, A. K. (2022). “Emotional Distancing”: Change and strain in US young adult college students’ relationships during COVID-19. Emerging Adulthood, 10(2), 546-557.  https://doi.org/10.1177%2F21676968211065531
  11. Yazdani, N., Hoyt, L.T., Maker Castro, E., & Cohen, A. K. (2022) “Early emerging adult college students’ civic engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic” Emerging Adulthood. https://doi.org/10.1177/21676968221098296
  12. Hoyt, L.T., Cohen, A. K., Dull, B.D., Maker Castro, E., Yazdani, N. (2021). “Constant stress has become the new normal”: stress and anxiety inequalities among US college students in the time of COVID-19.” Journal of Adolescent Health. 68(2), 270-276. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.10.030