Newsletter Article

Alexis (Lexie) Castaneto Named Chandler Scholar

“Understanding the mind and behavior has always been a natural interest of mine. I am passionate about mental health and wellness, so psychology seemed a great fit.”
     - Alexis Castaneto

This fall, a number of psychology majors applied to become the 2022-23 Aric Chandler Scholar. Applicants were asked to demonstrate their interest in child or adolescent psychology by outlining their relevant volunteer, research, work, or personal experiences, as well as their educational and career goals. Thanks to the generosity of the Chandler family, friends, and other donors, the award amount was $5,000. The recipient of this year's Aric Chandler Memorial Scholarship is psychology senior Alexis (Lexie) Castaneto.


Aric Chandler

In 2016, Aric Chandler had been admitted to the UW as a transfer student from Bellevue College and was on the way to fulfilling his dream of studying psychology here. Just days after being admitted, that dream was cut short when Aric died unexpectedly from SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). What did not die on that day was Aric's passion and commitment to working with adolescents. Aric's parents, David and Kacee Chandler, along with his family members and friends, established an endowment to keep Aric's dream alive by providing support for transfer psychology majors who plan to work with children and adolescents.

Lexie Castaneto returned to school in 2018 when her daughter Luna was old enough to attend preschool. It was at Seattle Central College where she began to discover her passion for the study of psychology. Lexie transferred to UW in autumn of 2020 and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. While much of her time at UW took place during the isolating days of the pandemic, she has really enjoyed the return to in-person and on campus learning. “UW’s campus is stunning and I have enjoyed walking around and looking at the architecture and landscapes,” says Lexie, adding “my favorite time of year is when the cherry blossoms bloom on campus.”

Reflecting on what the Aric Chandler Scholarship means to her, Lexie says, “I feel honored to receive this scholarship and be recognized for the work I want to do in the criminal justice system.” She adds that because she is the first in her family to attend college, the award also means a great deal to her family.


Alexis (Lexie) Castaneto with daughter Luna

Following graduation with her BA in psychology, Lexie plans to begin a graduate program in mental health counseling at Antioch University with the goal of working in a juvenile detention facility as a counselor. “I want my career to reflect creating a penal system that fosters understanding and hope,” explains Lexie. “It is no secret that our country’s criminal justice system is unjust,” she continues, noting that there is a need to address societal issues and to understand the psychology behind how and why our systems were created. Lexie is passionate about the need for change and excited to become part of the solution. “I am dedicated to working with incarcerated children and working outside of the detention centers to reduce recidivism.”