Introducing Dr. Sarah Castillo, UWS Sport and Performance Psychology Program Director

Sarah Castillo

University of Western States (UWS) is incredibly proud to announce the sport and performance psychology (SPP) director, Dr. Sarah Castillo. 

“It is a great honor to be part of the University of Western States community,” said Dr. Castillo. “I’m excited to blend my deep passion for higher education and graduate training with the strength of the sport and performance psychology programs here at UWS. I look forward to the work ahead and am excited to make closer connections here at this great university.”

Dr. Castillo completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology at UCLA, her master’s degree in kinesiology at Cal State Long Beach and her PhD in education at the University of Idaho. Her graduate research projects built on one another, with her master’s thesis focusing on the impact of coach and athlete compatibility on levels of team cohesion, and her dissertation centered on the creation of a two-year intervention program with a newly formed NCAA Division I women’s soccer team. She is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) and approved CMPC mentor through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). She currently serves on the AASP executive board as the professional standards division head, overseeing activities related to certification, ethics and continuing education.

Dr. Castillo comes to UWS from National University in San Diego, Calif., where she served as the program director for the bachelor’s in sport psychology program, acted as editor-in-chief for the online Journal of Performance Psychology and was co-director of the Center for Performance Psychology. Prior to her tenure at National University, she spent nine years as a performance enhancement instructor at the United States Military Academy, West Point. During her time with the Army, Dr. Castillo worked extensively with more than 15 intercollegiate, intramural and club athletic teams.

“The College of Graduate Studies is very excited to have Dr. Castillo join our team as the director for SPP,” said Alisa Bates, PhD, dean, college of graduate studies. “Her background and professional experiences have her well-positioned to lead our programs towards continued excellence. Dr. Castillo’s experience in the leadership of AASP provides ongoing national insight into the directions of the field that will prove invaluable to the university. Welcome, Dr. Castillo!” 

Dr. Castillo’s passion is working with individuals and teams in their search for peak performance in any area of life. She currently works with various collegiate teams and individual athletes in the San Diego area, as well as the USOPC Paralympic track and field team.

One of Dr. Castillo’s main areas of interest is the implementation of interventions designed to allow performers to reach their potential through the application of mental skills and mindfulness training. Her goal is to collaborate with performers to help them become fully engaged in competition despite adverse thoughts, emotions and playing conditions.