Areas of Expertise
- Diversity & social justice
- LGBTQ+ youth
- Youth advocacy & activism
- School climate
- Critical pedagogy
Maru Gonzalez, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor and Youth Development Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences at North Carolina State University. She received her doctorate in student development with a concentration in social justice education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where her research focused on school counselor advocacy with LGBTQ+ students. Currently, Dr. Gonzalez is Program Director for #PassTheMicYouth, a youth-led podcast and blog which aims to amplify youth voices, shine a spotlight on youth activism, and provide educators with resources for cultivating critical consciousness. She also serves as co-PI for the Empowering Youth and Families Program, an opioid prevention education program for youth and their caregivers in rural North Carolina.
In addition to her efforts domestically, Dr. Gonzalez has collaborated with policy makers, students, and educators in Chile, Peru, Spain, and the Dominican Republic on initiatives aimed at cultivating more respectful and affirming schools in the region. She has also served as a regular guest commentator on CNN and CNN Español and frequently contributes to The Huffington Post. Apart from research and Extension, Dr. Gonzalez teaches courses related to family theories, youth development, program development and evaluation, and complex families.
Programs & Initiatives
- Empowering Youth and Families Program
Gonzalez, M., Reese, B., & Connaughton-Espino, T. (under review). “A little harder to find
your place:” Latinx LGBTQ+ Youth and Family Belonging. Journal of GLBT Family Studies.
Gonzalez, M., Kokozos, M., Byrd C., & McKee, K. (2020). Critical positive youth development:
A framework for centering critical consciousness. Journal of Youth Development, 15(6).
Gonzalez, M., White, A., Vega, L., Howard, J., Kokozos, M., & Soule, K. (2020). “Making the
best better” for youths: Cultivating LGBTQ+ inclusion in 4-H. Journal of Extension, 58(4),
Article v58-4tt4. Available at: https://joe.org/joe/2020august/pdf/JOE_v58_4tt4.pdf
Gonzalez, M., Guin, A., Allen, K., Chilcote, A., Toriello, P., & Mead, E., (2020). Best practices
for engaging communities of color in opioid prevention programs. Journal of Extension,
58(3), Article v58-3tt5. Available at: https://joe.org/joe/2020june/pdf/JOE_v58_3tt5.pdf.
Kokozos, M. & Gonzalez, M. (2020). Critical inclusion: Disrupting LGBTQ normative
frameworks in school contexts. Equity & Excellence in Education.
Gonzalez, M. & Kokozos, M. (2019). Prejudice reduction in public schools: A dialogic
approach. Journal of Educational Research and Practice, (9)1, 340-348.
Gonzalez, M., McKee, K, Kokozos, M., Shealy, L., & Chan, S. (2019). #PassTheMicYouth
multimedia program: Setting the stage to amplify youth voices. Journal of Extension, 57(6),
Article 6TOT2. Available at: https://joe.org/joe/2019december/pdf/JOE_v57_6tt2.pdf
Gonzalez, M. (2018). Advocacy for and with LGBT students: An examination of high school
counselor experiences. Professional School Counseling, 20(1a), 38-46.
Gonzalez, M. (2016). Factors that facilitate and impede advocacy for and with LGBT students.
Journal of Counselor Leadership and Advocacy, 3(2), 158-172.
Johnson, C. W., Singh, A.A., & Gonzalez, M. (2014). “It’s complicated”: Collective memories
of transgender, queer, and questioning youth in high school. Journal of Homosexuality, 61(3),
Gonzalez, M. & McNulty, S.J. (2011). Achieving competence with transgender youth: School
counselors as collaborative advocates. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 4(3-4),