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Cheney, WA 99004
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Ashley Ellison

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Ashley Ellison

Ashley Ellison is pursuing a degree in psychology and a current Ronald E. McNair Scholar. Her research interest is trauma, the effects of adverse childhood experiences, trauma informed instruction practices in higher education, sexual assault, domestic violence, PTSD, homelessness and veterans. Her current research with the McNair program is focused on student perceptions of trauma informed services and classroom practices in higher education.

McNair Faculty Research Mentor: Dr. Susan Ruby - Psychology

McNair Research Title: Assessing the Need for Trauma Based Services in Higher Education

McNair Research Abstract: Research on Adverse Childhood experiences and the effects trauma has on adult health outcomes indicates a need for trauma informed instructional practices in classrooms.  However, limited research exists regarding trauma informed practices in higher education settings.  We know little about the needs, experiences, and perceptions of college students who have experienced trauma.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines a trauma informed environment as (1) realizing the impact of trauma and understanding paths for recovery, (2) recognizing signs and symptoms of trauma within their systems, and (3) responding by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into programs and practices (2012).  The Oregon Health Authority (n.d.) defines the principles of trauma informed care in the classroom as (1) creating safety, (2) trustworthiness, (3) choice, (4) collaboration. and (5) empowerment. For my study, I am seeking to understand student perspectives of trauma informed practices and services on the university campus.  I am conducting focus groups with approximately eight students per group.  During the focus sessions, I provide definitions and examples of the five elements of trauma informed care in the classroom and ask students to share their perceptions and experiences regarding these elements in classrooms.  I will ask them not to identify specific courses or instructor names in describing their experiences.  I will conduct discourse analyses to examine common themes in student perceptions.   

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