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Haven and Sexual Violence Support and Resources Staff

On-Campus Staff

Dawn LaFrance

Dawn LaFrance, PsyD

Director of Counseling and Psychological Services
Director of Sexual Violence Support 

Phone: 315-228-4286

Dawn is a confidential resource.

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It is my privilege to serve as director of Haven. I started working here in 2001 after completing my undergraduate degree at Lafayette College and earning master’s and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology at the University of Indianapolis. During my training, I worked primarily in community mental health and university counseling centers. I spent my internship year at Utah State University's Counseling Center.

I have enjoyed so many things about my work and life in Hamilton, especially my many interactions with Colgate students. I am excited to work closely with our community to promote Haven, Colgate’s sexual assault response center. Outside of Colgate, I love spending time with my partner, children, and our dog, Colgate Raider. In my free time, I enjoy running and being active outside.
Denise Contreras

Denise Contreras

Assistant Director of Survivor Support Services

Currently on leave

Phone: 315-228-4286

Denise is a confidential resource. 

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I joined the counseling staff in 2015 and thoroughly enjoyed my first year working with a dynamic team and supporting students at Colgate University. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, I had the opportunity to travel and serve as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force for over seven years. Following my separation from the military, I pursued my college education and received my bachelor and masters degrees in Social Work from Texas State University in 2006 and 2007. My MSW program in direct-practice was built on the liberal arts perspective.

It is my pleasure to serve as the Assistant Director of Survivor Support Services. Sexual violence and other forms of violence affects everyone, my goal is to continue to support those who experience such violent acts and act as an advocate for change through prevention, education, and advocacy support.

I have extensive experience working on the issues that initially brought me to social work: prevention and education, crisis intervention, and a desire to support the emotional health of young adults. My focus includes trauma and PTSD, alcohol and substance misuse, life transitions, grief/loss, relationships, identity, and trans/queer mental health and healing. I am a generalist who enjoys helping students identify their strengths to re-explore and develop new ways of coping with stress. My approach to the therapeutic process involves a strengths-based perspective and cognitive behavioral techniques with trauma-informed clinical care. In my practice, I explore decolonizing health and wellness and use ancestral healing work as a source of self-healing.

When I'm not wearing my social work hard hat, you can find me jogging, attending sporting events and tailgating. I am a faithful Texas Longhorn football fan and now a Colgate Raider fan of every sport possible! I also enjoy reading, art, concerts, traveling, and spending time exploring the East Coast!


Intern portrait

Jailekha Zutshi '21

Haven Intern


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When I was 15, I heard someone talk about the most traumatic time of their life. This person was affected by violence in multiple ways, many of them institutional. I was especially struck by the individual in question’s grace and courage, and how they still found it in themselves to be truly happy and fulfilled. The immediacy and urgency of their story made me decide to work to change the statistics, one story at a time. 

As a freshman, I hope to contribute to Haven's goal of creating a safe, supportive space in which survivors can heal, love, embrace, and empower. I believe true recovery is acknowledging that an incident may change you, but does not necessarily define who you are.

I've been dancing for over 12 years, and have taught dance to children, adults, and blind learners. I'm excited to integrate my love of dance with Haven's mission of survivors of trauma and violence to enable and empower them to build awareness and embrace themselves.

Aside from dancing, I enjoy reading, debating, running, and spending time with my loved ones. I’m tentatively considering a major in Economics, and hope to become a policymaker who creates positive change.


Off-Campus Resources

Cassandra Havener

Cassandra Havener, B.S.

Help Restore Hope Center Advocate 

Phone: 315-363-0048 x2149

Cassandra is a confidential resource.