Psychology senior to run marathon to support addiction research

Gage Reitzel aims to raise funds for the Social Addictions Impulse Lab


Portrait of ASU student Gage Reitzel.

Gage Reitzel, a fourth-year Barrett Honors student, is taking on a new challenge to raise funds to fight alcohol addiction. Reitzel is running the Mesa Marathon on Feb. 12, and is using the 26.2 mile run to raise $2,620 toward supporting research on alcoholism and stress.

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Gage Reitzel, a fourth-year Barrett, The Honors College student, is taking on a new challenge to raise funds to fight alcohol addiction.

Reitzel is running the Mesa Marathon on Feb. 12, and is using the 26.2 mile run to raise $2,620 toward supporting research on alcoholism and stress.

“I was inspired by a lifelong friend of mine to try and broaden the impact of this run, and used this as a rallying cry,” said Reitzel, who is double majoring in global health and psychology with a certificate in social science research methods. “I want to dedicate this run to the work that's being done, as well as to everyone out there who's battling addiction or who knows somebody in their life who's battling addiction. You're not alone.” 

Reitzel is a research assistant at the Social Addictions Impulse Lab (SAIL) at ASU, which conducts research on stress and drinking, and is in the middle of an ASU PitchFunder campaign aiming to raise $15,000 to support their research.

“Our lab is looking at how stressful events can change how much people drink within a social drinking context, and we’re studying this in a simulated naturalistic bar lab,” said Julie Patock-Peckham, director of the lab.

At SAIL, Reitzel helps to research alcohol use disorder and stress, and aims to better understand the statistical side of addiction.

“Gage Reitzel is utterly inspirational, and came up with the marathon run fundraising project on his own. He is a motivated self-starter who took it upon himself to take graduate-level statistics courses in machine learning in the hopes of helping us fight alcohol use disorders better,” Patock-Peckham said.

Reitzel’s personal interest is in psychometrics, or the scientific study of measurement and assessment.

“I'm really interested in psychometrics and looking more at the statistical side of these applications to get at the crux on why we do what we do, as well as how we're able to measure that qualitatively and quantitatively. I think it can lead to some pretty powerful health outcomes,” Reitzel said.

Reitzel plans to get a master’s degree in public health, and is personally interested in eventually working for the National Institutes of Health, running community grassroots efforts to fight addiction.

“It would be the perfect spot to hold on to my love of statistics — the reasoning and rationale behind how we’re able to know what people are doing and why they are doing it,” Reitzel said.

The Department of Psychology currently offers a graduate certificate in addiction and substance-use related disorders, and is launching a master’s degree in addiction psychology in the fall of 2022 for students who want to be on the front of the fight against substance use disorders and addiction. For questions or to express interest in entering the program, email addictioncert@asu.edu.

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