Dawn survives a turbulent childhood, marries young and returns to college as a non-traditional student with five children living at home. She becomes the valedictorian of her local junior college. She eventually completes a B.A. in English Teaching. She also earns an M.S. in Educational Psychology, School Counseling and completes another master’s program in Education Leadership and Policy.
In her professional career, Dawn wins two national awards: The US Army Planning for Life Award in 1998 for exemplary school counseling programs, and the American School Counselor Association School Counseling Program Coordinator/Supervisor of the year in 2009.
She authors the 2008 Utah Model for School Counseling Programs and is the editor for the 2012 manual Strategies and Resources: Dropout Prevention in Utah. She has written agency code and legislation, as well as articles in school counseling magazines and peer reviewed journals, plus multiple implementation guides, promotional materials and reports for the legislature. As a founding member of the International Society for Policy Research and Evaluation in School-based Counseling, she and one of her graduate students write chapter two, What Government Policy Makers Need to Know for the publication International Handbook for Policy Research on School-Based Counseling.
Dawn teaches in the school counselor education program at Utah State University for six years and at University of Phoenix for fifteen years. At UPhx, she teaches graduate level Human Development two or three times every year. In this introductory course for Master’s candidates, she helps students recognize their own growth and development. She becomes known among the faculty for helping students improve even their graduate level writing.
Dawn and her husband live in Salt Lake City. Between them, they have nine children and twelve grandchildren. Three of her children have taken the family international: one son-in-law from Switzerland, French-Swiss; a daughter-in-law from Brazil; and another son-in-law from Ukraine, an ethnic Russian. Half of her grandkids are bi-lingual in French, Portuguese, or Russian. Her husband’s family carries a military tradition: a great grandfather was a large animal veterinarian in the civil war; an uncle was a flying ace in WWI; his father was second wave at Omaha Beach, going ashore with the 1st Infantry Division, the Big Red One; her husband is a Vietnam combat veteran, going in country as an infantry private and coming home as a sergeant; his twin sons are military, one Army and one Marines, and a son-in-law who is Navy.