Dawn Vaughn Headshot

Hello! My Name Is…

Thank you so much for this honor and opportunity. My name is Dawn Stultz-Vaughn. I am the Training Coordinator for the Piedmont Regional Criminal Justice Training Academy in Martinsville, Virginia. I have been employed there since 2017. Prior to that, I took early retirement from the Martinsville Police Department after 21.5 years. I absolutely loved my police career but decided to make a career change to spend more time with my family and advance in my profession. I am in training to take the Director’s job when she retires in a few years.

Before joining MPD, I was a teacher at Albert Harris Elementary School in Martinsville. I graduated from Radford University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (K-5), and double minors in Political and Social Sciences. I have continued my educational path since graduation and maintained my Virginia Collegiate Professional teaching license since then. I became an Instructor for the Police Academy through the Department of Criminal Justice Services in 1997 and have been instructing police officers for 22 years. I have also earned my certification in Courtroom Security Officer and Civil Process Officer, along with being a sworn law enforcement officer with Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

I have been married for 20 years to my husband Rik, who is retired from Henry County Sheriff’s Office after 30 years and is currently a Sergeant at Ferrum College Police Department. We have a 12-year-old son, Lucas, who is the light of our lives. We also have two French bulldogs, Mango and Bronx. My hobbies include reading, being a soccer-mom, and work.

What is your motivation for obtaining your degree here at Averett University?

Education and learning have always been important to me. I am a first-generation college student in my family. I knew I was lucky to be able to attend college, and what a financial burden it was to be there. I had a lot of student loans to repay, so I chose to work after receiving my Bachelor’s degree, but always knew that I desired to return and achieve my Master’s degree. I am a highly motivated and goal-oriented person. I am the only female who has ever been promoted with rank at the Martinsville Police Department, and when I retired, was a Patrol Lieutenant. I believe in working hard, and also mentoring younger officers who worked for me, and the ones we train. I believe that earning a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration and Leadership will allow me to mentor new and old officers in this profession, as well as provide career opportunities and growth. I want to be a strong leader and example of a great police administrator.

Why did you choose Averett University’s Graduate & Professional Studies program?

I chose Averett University because of their new Criminology/Criminal Justice Graduate Program with the concentration in leadership program that will hopefully enhance my career. Averett has been so helpful and encouraging, from Dr. Hodgson to Pat Williams, my admissions counselor, who helped me jump in with both feet! The professors are great to work with, and understand the fact that we, as full-time students, are also full-time employees and parents, and are committed to excellence, as well. Committing to such an endeavor financially, time-wise, and personal investment-wise was certainly a big step and lifestyle change. I absolutely could not make it without the support of my family and bosses behind me.

The professors are great to work with, and understand the fact that we, as full-time students, are also full-time employees and parents, and are committed to excellence, as well. Committing to such an endeavor financially, time-wise, and personal investment-wise was certainly a big step and lifestyle change. I absolutely could not make it without the support of my family and bosses behind me.

What advice would you share for current and incoming students in Averett University’s GPS Program?

Being organized, constantly managing the assignments and staying on task has helped me remain focused with my school work. My usual day consists of full-time work, then coming home and doing homework. So far, I have been able to maintain a 4.0 average, but it can be overwhelming at times. My advice to others is to work hard at every endeavor; never stop learning and improving. I am enjoying what I am learning and feel it will help me to be a better leader, and example to others in the law enforcement profession.

What is your anticipated date of graduation?

My anticipated graduation date is 2020.

Learn about our MS in Criminal Justice Administration and Leadership Program

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