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Dr. Ann Staton, Tawny LeBouef Tullia Tawny LeBouef Tullia will be honored on Feb. 19 with the Virginia Chandler Dykes Scholarship. She is pictured with the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Ann Staton (photo by Kristina Bowman)

Tawny LeBouef Tullia, a Flower Mound resident and graduate student pursuing a doctorate in rhetoric at TWU’s College of Arts and Sciences, will receive one of four prestigious scholarships given by Texas Woman’s University at the 13th Annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon.  The luncheon, presented by Bank of Texas, Texas Woman’s University, and the Texas Woman’s University Foundation, will be Feb. 19, at noon, at The Belo Mansion and Pavilion.  Tullia’s scholarship is sponsored by Sis Carr.

In addition to her Ph.D., Tullia would also like to earn her master’s in women’s studies and hopes to find a position in higher education that will allow her to teach, research, and participate in social justice initiatives serving a local community.  Presently she is in the dissertation phase of her doctoral degree and is teaching literature and gender studies courses. A native of Louisiana, Tullia would like to return to New Orleans one day. 

“I grew up in southern Louisiana. The landscape inspired me to create art beginning at a young age. The people and culture inspire me to study the humanities through language, in written and in other forms,” said Tullia. “I will return there one day.”

Tullia knew she was destined to teach when she moved to Texas in 2003.  She took a job working in an administrative capacity for a pre-school and was asked to substitute. 

“I knew then that a classroom was where I belong,” added Tullia.  “I now get to live that dream and interact with and learn from my students in classrooms at TWU.  I love every minute of it.”

Presently she is working closely with the graduate school and her fellow graduate students to create a strong Graduate Student Council at Texas Woman’s University.

“I have benefited greatly from learning across disciplines,” added Tullia, “and that is one of the reasons we decided to create a Graduate Student Council at TWU.  We want to offer graduate students at TWU more opportunities to learn across disciplines and to meet students from other programs.  We are hoping to create more of these opportunities that may generate more professional development, more conversations about teaching pedagogy across disciplines, and more inter-disciplinary opportunities for collaborative research, just to name a few.”

For her undergraduate studies, Tullia received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, specializing in photography and digitally produced art.  A single mom of a now 16-year-old son, she knew she wasn’t finished with her education after her graduation.

“I found that opportunity in 2009 when I applied for the master’s program at TWU,” she added, “and received my master’s in English in 2011.  Through the mentoring of very supportive professors, I then decided that a Ph.D. was something I could actually complete.  Dr. Hugh Burns, one of my mentors, told me that I would bloom where I was planted, and I feel like, maybe, I am!”

Tullia is passionate about her work, both in and out of the classroom.

“I feel like that passion can go a long way to creating a nurturing environment for learning,” she explained.  “Outside of the classroom, as in my service work, I feel that passion is contagious.”

Currently she serves as graduate assistant to the dean of the graduate school, and she has held several other positions as assistant and teaching assistant in numerous areas. In addition to being a chartering member of the newly formed Graduate Student Council, she has served on various committees throughout her time at TWU and held several leadership roles.  She is also the recipient of the Allsup-Lane Scholarship, the Dean Bishop Excellence in Teaching Award and has received the Edith and Edgar Deen Literary Scholarship twice, among others.  She is the recipient of the “Best Essay Award” two years in a row from the Beta Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta.

Tullia will tell you that when she first began her graduate education, she felt like she didn’t belong.

“Receiving this scholarship helps me to be able to show others that non-traditionally aged students can make a big impact on our academic communities,” she added.  “My advice to anyone entering this program would be to stay strong and don’t turn around and give up on that first day of class.  You do belong here, and you will have the support of many wonderful and caring mentors.  As a single mom, I’ve had quite a balancing act to manage.  My best advice to others is if you feel like you can barely keep your head above water, just keep swimming. It is worth it.”

The four graduate students from each of the four TWU colleges who will be honored at the luncheon as recipients of scholarship funds include: Lenin Grajo, Ed.M., OTR, College of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy), sponsored by Edgemere Dallas – Dallas/SQLC Charitable Foundation; Heidi Gilroy, MSN, RN, APHN-BC, College of Nursing, sponsored by Luther King Capital Management; Lena Jackson-Lynch, Ed.M, MHR, College of Professional Education (COPE), sponsored by Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, and Tawny LeBouef Tullia, MA (English),College of Arts and Sciences, sponsored by Sis Carr.

TWU’s 13th Annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon, Feb. 19 at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion, will honor Ralph Hawkins as the 2015 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