Lock Haven Alumna Serves as Presenter During Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training Series and Women's Empowerment Dinner


Commonwealth University (CU) recently welcomed back 1998 Lock Haven University alumna LaToya Smith as part of CU's third annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training series.

Smith, the founder of LCS Counseling and Consulting Agency, delivered a thought-provoking presentation to more than 60 faculty and staff, titled, "Treating Deep Wounds: Confronting Race-Based Trauma and Its Impact on The Mental Health of College Students."

Smith's presentation was the third of four scheduled presentations this spring aimed at enhancing CU's DEI initiatives at its Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield locations. Later in the evening, she also presented to nearly 30 faculty and students at CU-Lock Haven Women's Empowerment Dinner.

Drawing from her personal journey from a 17-year-old Lock Haven freshman to successful entrepreneur and advocate, Smith captivated the audience with her insights and experiences. Emphasizing the importance of authenticity, finding the confidence to use her voice, recognizing predecessors and giving back to her communities, Smith outlined the pivotal elements that contributed to her self-actualization and professional success.

"We are very excited to have welcomed (Smith) back to Lock Haven," said Albert Jones, '99 (LH), chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. "And we thank her for her support, and for advocating to create equity by raising awareness about the challenges faced by underrepresented and minority students on college campuses across the country."

During her presentation, Smith shed light on the profound effects of race-based trauma on college students' mental health, addressing its manifestations, stressors and symptoms. She advocated for education, awareness and collective action as means to nurture healing and create emotionally safe spaces for students of color on campus.

Attendees at the Women's Empowerment Dinner were inspired by Smith's reflections and her acknowledgment of influential figures such as emerita, Dr. Linda Koch, former vice president of student affairs at Lock Haven, who played a significant role in her personal development.

Smith's return to CU-Lock Haven underscores the university's commitment to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for all faculty, staff and students. Her presentation serves as a catalyst for ongoing discussions and initiatives aimed at addressing race-based trauma and promoting mental health awareness on campus.