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How Trauma and Toxic Stress Impact College Students presented by Renee Hettich, LMSW and IC alumna. Sponsored by WMN.

Contributed by Ivy Walz on 03/03/21 

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The Ithaca College Women’s Mentoring Network invites all faculty and staff to an impactful two-part series: How Trauma and Toxic Stress Impact College Students presented by Renee Hettich, LMSW and IC alumna. Thursday, March 11 – Part 1, and Thursday, March 18 – Part 2. Both sessions will occur via Zoom 12:10-1:05pm. 

 Access both sessions via this Zoom Link

Description, Part 1: Trauma and toxic stress has negative impacts on the outcomes for college students. All college students are currently experiencing toxic stress due to the pandemic and civil unrest in our country. One in eight college students have the additional challenge of having a significant history of childhood trauma (Adverse Childhood Experiences) that adds to the complexity of toxic stress. Trauma and toxic stress chronically activates a student’s stress management system which causes changes in their brains and bodies that result in learning challenges, behavioral difficulties, risky choices and physical and mental health complaints. This seminar will (1) define Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress, (2) explore how these impact on students’ developing brains and bodies, and (3) detail the resulting learning and behaviors differences that are typically exhibited in the college setting. 

Description, Part 2: Stress is the number one reported impediment to academic performance for college students. Toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences create learning, behavioral, and health challenges that hinder student success in and outside of the classroom. To improve student outcomes, faculty and staff can implement trauma-responsive strategies. This seminar will provide educators with prevention and intervention strategies that work to improve behavior and educational outcomes for stressed college students. 


Participation to both sessions is encouraged though not required, please contact Julie Dorsey at if you need access to the recorded sessions which will be available for a limited time. Please contact Ivy Walz at with any questions or requests for accommodations. 


Renee Hettich, LMSW is an Ithaca College alumna (’87) with a degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology. She continued her studies at the University of Pittsburgh where she obtained a Master’s Degree in Audiology. As her life’s passions evolved, she returned to school and earned a Social Work degree from Marywood University and has been a Licensed Master Social Worker since 2005. Renee has been working in the field of child welfare for over fifteen years. She currently works for the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York. Renee has published articles in national adoption magazines and is the author of the book My Kids Know More Than Me! 15 Life Lessons from Foster and Adopted Children. Renee is also a speaker on the topics of adverse childhood experiences, toxic stress and trauma’s impact on brain development, trauma-responsive services, and resilience. 


Renee has been parenting children from adversity, trauma, and toxic stress for twenty-five years as a foster, adoptive, and kinship parent. She is currently parenting four children who joined her family through inter-country adoption and one child who is in her kinship care. She cares for children with special medical, developmental, and mental health needs. Three of her children are currently college students. 


The purpose of the Women's Mentoring Network is to create a sense of community and belonging among anyone interested in empowering and uplifting women. 

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Ivy Walz at We ask that requests for accommodations be made as soon as possible.

How Trauma and Toxic Stress Impact College Students presented by Renee Hettich, LMSW and IC alumna. Sponsored by WMN. | 0 Comments |
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