about us

The Institute for Trauma, Adversity, and Resilience in Higher Education

began as an interdisciplinary conference on Trauma and Learning in Post-Secondary Education hosted by MassBay Community College in 2012. With ongoing support from the college, it also receives funding from the federal Title III grant program. Founder and director Jeanie Tietjen teaches in the English department at MassBay, and earned her PhD from Brandeis University.


The Institute works towards understanding how trauma and adversity impact higher education by means of research, writing, professional development, and internal and external collaboration.

Current and recent work includes:

Trauma Advisory Group

The Trauma Advisory Group is an interdisciplinary group of faculty, staff, and administration at MassBay that provides feedback, insights, and assistance.

Liz Blumberg, Dean of Students
Phoebe Bustamante, Director of Accessibility
Clarissa Codington, Assistant Professor of English
Courtney DeGeorge, Assistant Professor of English
Abigail Detweiler, Title III Program Administrator
Jon Edwards, Director of Counseling Services
Judith Elliston, Professor and Department Chair Science
Sean Fortney, Assistant Director, Academic and Transfer Advising
Heidi Getchell-Bastien, Associate Professor Criminal Justice and Government
Carolyn Guttilla, Associate Professor and Chair, Communication Department
Courtney Jackson, Provost & Chief Academic Officer

Nina Keery, Dean of Humanities and Social Science
Liz Kinsman, SUCCESS Initiative Manager
Christina Magalona, Assistant Professor of Communications
Sue Maggioni, Dean of Business and Professional Studies
Katie McGrath, Professor of English
David Medina, Assistant Professor, Humanities and Social Science
Deborah O’Dowd, Assistant Professor Health Sciences
ShaQuan Read, LMHC, Adjunct Faculty
Jose Silva, Assistant Professor Health Sciences
Samaria Stallings, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources
Rhian Waterberg, Associate Director of Admissions Health Sciences
Meredith Watts, Professor of Sciences

Trauma Research Intern

Katerina Cipriano is a student at MassBay Community College, and is researching desk chairs and classroom furniture through a trauma-informed lens. Given that belonging correlates strongly with academic resilience, Cipriano calls attention to the ways in which traditional desk chairs accommodate some body types and weights over others. Her ongoing research and writing inquire how the implementation of trauma-informed design of community college classroom furniture can transform the classroom itself from a site that easily accommodates some body shapes and weights while visibly excluding and even failing others into a restorative landscape which instead promotes equity, belonging, and engagement in higher education.

Anthony Neptune is a graduate of MassBay Community College who has returned to the school to work as a Higher Ed Intern. In this role, he is researching trauma and resilience informed best practices with special attention to creating more balanced power dynamics in the classroom. His research will inquire into the syllabus and how inviting students into the process may give them a greater sense of control, safety, and belonging all leading to improved educational outcomes.