Castel is a qualitative scholar whose work draws both on formal training in sociology and from personal interest and lived experiences. Her research primarily centers around the relationship(s) between culture, race, and community involvement. Castel’s doctoral dissertation examined hip hop and rap artists’ embeddedness in local communities and their interpretation of the connectedness between their work and their communities. She explored the influence of place and space in the identity development of artists and how the artist uses those identities to guide their interactions with their local community.

Castel also investigates the significance of artists’ interactions and relationships in the cultivation of social and cultural capital. In contrast to previous scholarship emphasizing the negative influence rap and hip-hop artists have on their communities, she utilized in-depth interviews with artists to examine the ways in which they use hip-hop music in pursuit of social change and community engagement. The intent behind her dissertation research was to contribute to the knowledge of the multidimensionality of residents’ experiences with community engagement utilizing the context of hip-hop music as articulated through the voice of hip-hop artists.

In addition to Castel’s dissertation research, she has written articles examining the social impacts of community gardens as well as the effects of Hurricane Katrina on Black Women in New Orleans. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice/Criminology from Hampton University. Her undergraduate thesis examined the effects of incarceration and reentry on children, families, and communities.


Peer Review Article

“Virtual and In-Person Community-

Engaged Learning: Is Student Learning Virtually the Same?”

Book Chapter

“Leveraging Experiential Learning to Create

Inclusive Community at Predominantly White Institutions.”

Book Chapter

“A Journey Approach to Vocation: Contextualizing Immersion Experiences for Vocation Exploration.”

Blog Post

Demands for Racial Justice Necessitate an Examination of Current Community-University Partnerships.” 

Peer Reviewed Article

“What Would I Look Like?”: How Concentrated Disadvantage Impacts Hip-Hop Artists’ Connections to Community.” 

Encyclopedia Entries

“Afrika Bambaataa”, “DJ Kool Herc”, “Dungeon Family”, “Outkast”, and “Universal Zulu Nation”. 

Book Chapter

“The Effects of Hurricane Katrina on Black Women: Understanding Women’s Fear through an Intersectional Lens.” 

Peer Reviewed Article

“Trying to build the community up”: An Exploration of the Social Impacts of Louisiana Urban Community Gardens.”