Postdoctoral Success Stories

Natasha Mendoza, PhD

Natasha Mendoza, PhD

RIA Postdoctoral Associate 2009-2012

Current position

Assistant Professor
School of Social Work
Arizona State University

Academic Profile

Dr. Mendoza’s scholarship is based on the premise that motivation to change substance use behaviors is intrinsic and a function of interpersonal relationships, occurring within the context of culture and across multiple systems (e.g., criminal justice, child protective services), and that intersecting identities (i.e., gender, ethnic, and sexual orientation) are indelibly linked to behavioral health. Her work examines the ways in which identity may be an asset in recovery from substance use disorders or connected to risk factors associated with problematic use and treatment barriers.


“In many ways, I owe my career to RIA. When I graduated with my PhD, I was not yet ready to produce as an independent researcher. My experience at RIA gave me the tools to move forward as a researcher with confidence. I will be forever grateful for Dr. Gerard Connors and Dr. Ronda Dearing, my mentors at RIA; they taught me how to polish my work and make it publishable.

Since beginning my tenure-track position at Arizona State University, I have been successful at maintaining a consistent research agenda and I continue to grow as an academician. Had I not had the opportunity to learn at RIA, I would not have the job I love today."