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TWU Graduate Student Dawn Murphy Dawn Murphy, representing TWU's College of Nursing, will be honored with one of four Virginia Chandler Dykes Scholarships on Feb. 21


Four Scholarship Awards to be presented at 16th Annual TWU Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon Honoring

Norman Bagwell for his leadership in the community and his commitment to education


A pediatric nurse for almost 25 years, Dawn Murphy is pursuing her doctorate in nursing science/education from Texas Woman’s University, with a 4.0 GPA and plans to graduate in 2019. A resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Murphy is entering her fourth year as a part-time doctoral student in TWU’s online nursing education program. On February 21, she will receive one of four prestigious scholarships given by Texas Woman’s University at the 16th Annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon, presented by Bank of Texas, Texas Woman’s University, and the Texas Woman’s University Foundation, at The Belo Mansion and Pavilion. 


Inspired by her nieces and nephews from their use of social media, her dissertation will focus on the effect of social media behavior on adolescent mental health. After completing her PhD, she would like to teach fellow pediatric nurse practitioners at the graduate level, while continuing her work as a pediatric nurse practitioner on a part-time basis.  Presently she is a faculty member at Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) in Colorado Springs, where she teaches courses in pediatrics and leadership, while assisting with nursing lab courses. She has also served as the coordinator of the nursing simulation lab and serves as a clinical instructor for pediatrics at the University of Colorado Health at Memorial Central Hospital. Additionally, she tries to work part-time in pediatric homecare when she can.


“I am very passionate about the health and development of children and their families and strive to inspire this same passion in nursing students I have the privilege to teach,” said Dawn Murphy.


Murphy received her bachelors in nursing from Mankato State University in Minnesota in 1991 and began her career in medical-surgical nursing at St. Mary’s/Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She moved to Texas in 1993 and started working in pediatric nursing. She completed her master’s in nursing from TWU in 2000, obtaining her certification to work as a pediatric nurse practitioner. She worked at a number of hospital and school-based settings including Parkland Health and Hospital System’s school-based clinics in Dallas.  In 2008, she began teaching pediatrics and other areas of nursing in Colorado. Murphy began her PhD journey in 2014.

“I grew up on a dairy farm in Afton, Minnesota, where I was responsible for raising and nurturing baby calves as part of my chores,” added Murphy. “My dad was a Catholic deacon, my mom worked as a secretary for more than 30 years, and I have a brother and sister who were adopted from South Korea who are now in their 40s. The whole family worked together on the farm, and I believe this contributed to my journey into pediatric nursing. I have found that my strength lies in encouraging nurses to be the best nurses they can be. Many students I have encountered have a number of obstacles in their lives, and I think my years of working with children, adolescents, and their families have prepared me to work well with a variety of nursing students on their nursing career journeys. Someone once told me that leadership is not just a noun, but a verb, and I attempt to demonstrate this as I strive to model leadership for students and colleague in even the smallest of my actions every day.”

Murphy is a member of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and helped to plan a local conference in Denver two years ago. She has served as a faculty advisor for the Pikes Peak Community College Association of Nursing Students, is active on the college’s Diversity team, and enjoys participating in numerous community activities.  She is the recipient of multiple honors including nominee for Faculty of the Year award at Pikes Peak Community College in 2017; Master Teacher nomination from Front Range Community College in 2007-08; nominee for Outstanding Graduate Student at TWU in 2000; and nominee for the Dallas-Fort Worth Great 100 Nurses Award of Excellence in 1996 among others.

“Probably the greatest honor I have ever received was being asked by nursing students to be an honorary faculty guest speaker for nursing pinning ceremonies in 2012 and 2013,” added Murphy.

Murphy is very appreciative to TWU and all faculty, staff, and student colleagues who have made her journey possible.

“It is hard to describe my feelings about receiving this scholarship award,” added Murphy.  “I am blessed and so very thankful to Virginia Chandler Dykes, whose lifework has made it possible for me to continue my pediatric nursing journey. She has changed the lives of so many students working to pursue their dreams.”

In addition to Murphy, graduate students from the remaining three TWU colleges will be honored at the luncheon as recipients of Virginia Chandler Dykes scholarship funds: Kaye C. Rubio, College of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy); Lorraine Cadwallader, College of Professional Education (COPE); and Geethanjali Ravindranathan, College of Arts and Sciences.

In the past 15 years, more than $700,000 has been raised for scholarships from the proceeds of this luncheon.  TWU’s 16th Annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon, on February 21 at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion, will honor Norman P. Bagwell, CEO of Bank of Texas and Executive Vice President of BOK Financial, as the 2018 recipient of the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award.  Tickets are $175 for silver patron; $250 for gold patron.  For more information, call 940-898-3872, visit, or email

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