Castel Sweet is a sociologist who explores the intricacies of community, culture, and race. Through her work as a community engagement professional, she encourages the unknown to be explored, endeavors to make the unfamiliar familiar, and seeks to cultivate relationships that are transformational instead of transactional. Castel’s formal training in sociology enables her to comprehensively develop, support, and advocate for ethical and appropriate community-campus collaborations and community engagement at the collegiate level. She has experience coordinating community internship placements, designing and implementing community-engagement (service learning) in both academic courses and co-curricular programming, organizing small and large scale service projects, facilitating international and national immersion experiences, and supporting student leadership programs. Castel has worked directly with several non-profit organizations supporting local community-based projects and initiatives.

Castel is the Director of Community Engagement and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in the L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University of Dayton. In her work, she supports the cultivation of intentional engagement practices in the experiential learning programs managed by the center and advocates for effective community engagement practices that prioritize social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She also supports the center’s major initiatives with The Hub at the Arcade and the Greater West Dayton Incubator. 

In addition to her work as a community engagement professional, Castel is a qualitative scholar whose research currently explores the influence of place and space in the identity development of artists, and how artists use those identities to guide their interactions with their local community. She also investigates the significance of artists’ interactions and relationships in the cultivation of social and cultural capital. Castel uses in-depth interviews with artists to examine the ways in which they use their art to pursue social change and community engagement. She has authored and co-authored journal publications and encyclopedia entries. 

Castel attended Hampton University for her undergraduate studies, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice/Criminology in 2012. In 2014, she earned a Master’s of Arts in Sociology from Louisiana State University and continued on to complete her doctorate degree in Sociology at LSU in 2017. 

Awards & Honors

2020 Ambition List Honoree

2020 Women of UD

UD Diversity & Social Justice Fellow

Midwest Campus Compact Engaged Scholar

Board and Community Service

Re-Imagining America: Dayton – Design Team

YWCA Dayton – Board of Directors

Dayton Young Black Professionals – Advisory Board