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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!
Tracia Banuelos headshot

Tracia Banuelos

Program Coordinator for Haven

Phone: 315-228-4286

Tracia is a confidential resource. 

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I joined Haven in the beginning of Fall 2018. Born and raised in the Midwest, I received my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Women's Studies from Wichita State University. During my studies, I also received a minor in University Honors, and certificates in both Community Psychology and Tilford Diversity Studies. 

I am excited to share my passion for survivor centric advocacy, support, and healing through Haven. As a student, I have served on the Title IX Student Alliance, a campus organizer and member of the national Student Advisory Council for It's On Us, and volunteered at the Wichita Family Crisis Center. Through Haven, I strive to elevate the stories of all survivors of sexual violence, with emphasis on marginalized communities, as well as providing equitable healing resources. My primary objectives are to provide educational resources, training, and serve as a support system for survivors. 

When not working, I serve as a 2018-19 REAL Change Fellow with RESULTS, an organization dedicated to end poverty globally and domestically. Additionally, I serve as a board member for Abortion Conversation Projects, a non-profit that gives seed grants to abortion stigma-busting individuals and organizations. Due to my passion for public health and comprehensive, trauma-informed sexual education, I won the "Next Generation" award from the Kansas Choice Alliance, and was named a "Civic Health Hero" from the Kansas Health Foundation. 


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
Work Cell
:1-607-373-8051 (call or text)
24/7 Hotline: 1-855-9-NOWSAFE (1-855-966-9723)

Cassandra is a confidential resource.

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Born and raised right in Hamilton, NY, Colgate has always been a part of my life. Between school events held by Colgate during my time growing up, and being a part of the Colgate Bookstore staff in high school, Colgate has and will always hold a special place in my heart. As the liaison between Colgate University and Help Restore Hope Center, I have no obligation to report any information told to me unless requested by the student or survivor.

While in high school and college, I spent 5 years working at the Colgate Bookstore, an excellent experience which has brought me many great friends. I graduated high school from Hamilton Central School in 2013, and went on to continue my education at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. I graduated with my Associate’s Degree in Applied Science with a focus in Psychology. After graduating, I continued my education at SUNY College at Brockport and received my Bachelors of Science in Psychology, with a minor in Public Health.

Following my graduation from Brockport in 2017, I moved to Keene Valley, NY, in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. While living in the mountains, I was employed by Northern Rivers Family of Services, working with children and families that are in the Foster Care system. I assisted these children and their foster families with skill building, relationship building, healthy boundaries, social skills, and respite time. This job was a lot of fun, but I needed to be closer to my family back in Central New York.

I am now employed by Liberty Resources’ Help Restore Hope Center, assisting survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking find resources and help in their community. I have specific training in human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault response, trauma-informed care, cultural diversity, advocating within school systems, crisis calls, Enough is Enough, and safe dating. In my free time, I love to mountain climb, hike, meditate, make DIY crafts, and cook new recipes. I also love playing with dogs, and am anxiously awaiting the day I can have one of my own.

Please reach out for any assistance navigating your own life’s adventures. My cell phone number is available to students to call or text anytime. Please also reach out to our 24/7 hotline if you cannot reach me, an advocate is always available on call to assist you in any way we can.