Dr Joel Nuñez

Dr. Joel Núñez has spent years studying the field of psychology, working to understand how the minds of men and women operate. He’s had countless hours with clients behind closed doors to alleviate their fears, anxieties, and struggles, and today, he’s taking what he’s learned to campus.

A speaker who talks from the heart, Joel is sharing stories and strategies to achieve ultimate health. Joel is the perfect option if you’re looking for a speaker to drop some seriously thoughtful information while helping students feel validated and valued. He’s a nice blend of an exceptionally smart researcher, and a friend who wants to see you feel good.

Get Out of Your Own Way

Some students arrive at college with past experiences that have affected them, many times choosing to cope with their issues alone. They carry the wounds from the death of a loved one, a life-threatening or altering illness, a fractured relationship, or any number of difficult situations. Other students may have led a fairly worry-free life until coming on campus. Suddenly, they may encounter troubles they weren’t prepared to face like severe homesickness, poor grades, substance abuse, or relationship issues. Whether they fall in one category, the other, or somewhere in between, many students are unable to move forward because they’re haunted by their past or are uncertain how to cope with their day-to-day stress without becoming completely overwhelmed.

In his powerful keynote, Dr. Núñez reveals to students that even when external obstacles like past trauma, tough exams, or job searching seem overwhelming, they are still less paralyzing than the hindrances they put on themselves. Believing that a loved one’s death means they can never love again, an illness means that they should stop living, or failing at something makes them a failure are all common internal challenges students face – and all can lead to unhappiness, academic underperformance, transferring, and even dropping out. The good news is that all students can learn to dismantle these mental barriers, enhance their mental and relational health, and experience outstanding results.

Dr. Núñez helps audiences unearth inner resources they never knew they had, overcome external challenges they never thought possible, and unleash their greatest potential. Dr. Núñez believes that every student can learn how to get out of their own way and begin leading happy, healthy lives. This is a great program to address student persistence, mental health, and enhancing overall student well-being.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • how to normalize adversity and recognize that every person in the room has a vulnerability in their past, present, or that can happen tomorrow,
  • how to understand that unexpressed emotion and experience cannot be repressed without a cost and that when they fail to cope appropriately the results can be destructive,
  • what tools are necessary for identifying and dismantling powerful, paralyzing inner messages that lead to underperformance, mental health crises, and lower quality of life, and
  • how to assign meaning to difficult experiences and enhance their joy.

The Genius Myth

Students today are conditioned to believe that their grades and test scores are the greatest predictors of long-term success. Sure, they are important when applying for scholarships, being accepted into top colleges, and even for post-graduate study. But, it is important that students know there is more to success than just book smarts. Traits like determination, resilience, and self-control are just as critical, and it is the time that we work to reshape our mindset around success. When our students buy into “The Genius Myth” that intelligence and talent are fixed, they begin to select themselves out of the chance to be successful.

In this keynote, Dr. Joel Núñez debunks that myth and explains what sets exceptional people apart from others is not their “inherent talent,” but their hard work, persistence, and positive response to setbacks in addition to their natural talents and gifts. Studies show that these skills can be taught and developed, which means that all students have a chance for real success. Students will walk away feeling encouraged and empowered to take both their academic and overall achievements into their own hands to reach new heights.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • how having a limited belief about themselves can hinder their success in school, relationships, athletics, and life,
  • more about the insufficient resource myth in which people convince themselves they would do more and be more “if only…” they had more external resources (like support from important people, time, energy, etc.),
  • that the powerful predictor of success is completely internal, can be developed, and grow proportional to the size of challenges we face effectively, and
  • practical, principal-based strategies for developing determination, resilience, and self-control.

Keeping the Flame: Self-Care for Students

College students are pulled in countless directions, with all sorts of commitments and requirements vying for their time. With schoolwork, sports practices, family obligations, fraternity and sorority involvement, and time with friends, it’s no wonder students are walking away from university life and leaving their degrees unfinished.

Dr. Joel Núñez has watched the phenomenon of burnout spread throughout Western society, and he feels strongly that it’s time end it. A licensed clinical psychologist, Joel is all too familiar with the signs of impending burnout, and its costs range from underperformance to drop out to substance abuse. Burnout can be prevented, and Joel is talking to students today about the simple self-care techniques that can be employed to ward off its ugly effects. He proposes self-care and systemic strategies focusing attention on the prevention and treatment of emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and a diminished sense of scholastic accomplishment.

Basing much of this presentation on the growing field of positive psychology, these techniques increase positive emotion, engagement, nourishing relationships, and enhancing meaning.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • and become aware of the data on burnout among U.S. college students and its related negative effects (substance abuse, depression, drop-out, etc.),
  • the three major symptom categories of burnout (emotional exhaustion, cynicism/depersonalization, and the diminished sense of accomplishment),
  • how to value and leverage the potential power of their peer groups, fraternities/sororities, and student organizations as communities of support for the detection, intervention, and prevention of burnout symptoms in individual members, and
  • crucial insights and practical, common-sense, and empirically-supported strategies for the prevention and intervention of burnout among college students.

May I Come In? Underrepresented Students’ Self-Beliefs & Success in College and Career

The numbers can’t be ignored: the proportion of students of color, first-generation students, and students from lower socioeconomic statuses are surging in our colleges and universities. However, retention and graduation rates for these students are strikingly low.

As institutions, and as a nation, we’ve got to harness the power of these growing groups for our collective success. The solution is that we’ve got to use education as the driver so that Americans of all backgrounds can flourish as professionals for the good of us all. At the same time, educating young people who are underrepresented on our campuses requires them to not only be academically ready but to be armed with what psychologists call non-cognitive or “soft skills.”

Soft skills are a set of competencies that are often completely ignored in the classroom. These skills consist of what psychologists call grit, self-efficacy, internal locus of control, emotional stability and healthy self-esteem, and are essential to combat the insidious scourge of stereotype threat, as well as more blatant opposition students, may face. Arming our students with soft skills can grant them the competitive advantage, making the difference between success and failure in school and in life. The best news is we can grow them.

In this presentation, Dr. Joel Núñez shares the latest research and his own personal story, to encourage and empower professionals of all backgrounds to support underrepresented students so they can flourish at the highest levels.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • acquire working knowledge of the demographic shifts occurring in the United States and the challenges underrepresented students face,
  • learn more about the staggering data on graduation rates among underrepresented student groups, and the factors leading to these outcomes,
  • gain a deeper understanding of the multiple psychological competencies (“soft skills”) that must accompany and will help develop the academic competencies (“hard skills”) in students, promoting success in college and career. These consist of grit, self-efficacy, internal locus of control, emotional stability (low neuroticism) and healthy levels of self-esteem, and
  • learn to leverage this new knowledge of psychological competencies by developing personal action plans to help promote the best outcomes and support for all students, of all backgrounds.

“Joel’s presentation was exactly what we were looking for. He was knowledgeable, engrossing, and passionate. Our students loved interacting with him before, during, and after his talk.”

– Beth Littrell, Hastings College

“Thank you for speaking at our Last Lecture series. You shared so much wisdom in your talk and reinvigorated me to continue to make an impact on the people and the world around me.”

– Mark Scalzo, Order of Omega, Steven’s Institute of Technology

“I instantly connected with Joel. In hours he taught me how to open my heart to others. Very wise and knowledgeable; also energetic and supportive.”

– Carlos Diaz, Texas A&M, Commerce

Joel’s Bio

Dr. Joel Núñez is a New Jersey state licensed clinical psychologist. In 1996, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Psychology from Drew University. He earned a full scholarship to study psychology at Penn State University. As a graduate student, he was awarded the prestigious Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans on the basis of scholarly merit, academic promise, and potential to contribute to public life. Dr. Núñez graduated in 2003 with a Ph.D. in Psychology. He completed his pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Following the internship, he worked as a bilingual clinical psychologist at an inpatient psychiatric hospital in Secaucus, New Jersey, earning his license to practice psychology in 2006. Presently, Dr. Núñez works as a consultant psychologist at a residential facility in Totowa, New Jersey, where he treats adolescents and adults living with developmental disabilities, severe and persistent mental illness, and other life challenges.


Promotional Resources



"Wholeheartedly moving forward with fear as my companion." - @DrJoelNunez #faceyourfearsday #keynotespeaker…

Shout out to @CNUcaptains for bringing @DrJoelNunez to #campus this evening #getoutofyourownway #inspirestudents

We're excited to have @DrJoelNunez at @SalisburyU! #LetsDothis

.@DrJoelNunez speaks to our students about how to unleash their greatest potential at "Get Out of Your Own Way."

.@DrJoelNunez can help you unleash your greatest potential. Come to his talk in the Wildcat Ctr tonight at 8 pm!

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