College of Nursing Graduates First Ph.D. Student

January 22, 2007

Contact: Lauren Cruse (505) 272-3690


Albuquerque, UNM - Marie Mugavin has become the first ever PhD student to graduate from the University of New Mexico College of Nursing (UNM CoN) after successfully defending her dissertation in early January.

Dr. Mugavin's dissertation was a comparative study of women incarcerated in New Mexico for crimes of child abuse and child homicide. Close to 100 percent of these women were interviewed by Dr. Mugavin to identify factors that may have lead to the crimes.

Although Dr. Mugavin's research is preliminary, the study could be the first step in identifying factors that discriminate between the two groups and a step toward the development of assessment and preventive measures for at-risk families.

Started in 2003, the CoN PhD program currently has 31 students enrolled with 18 of those students finished with coursework and well into working on their dissertations.

Dr. Paula Meek, Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship at the CoN, sees the PhD program as a necessity to the College not only for research, but to also bring more faculty members aboard at the CoN.

"You hear a lot about the nursing shortage, but one of the biggest deficits on the academic side is the shortage in nurse faculty," said Dr. Meek. "We want to expand our academic programs so we can bring in more nursing students, but we cannot support the increase in students without hiring more professors with PhDs."

Dr. Mugavin will be joining the CoN faculty as an assistant professor, starting in January 2007. In her first year as faculty, Dr. Mugavin will concentrate primarily on research and then will eventually work into teaching.

The PhD program is also fully available online. For more information on the doctoral program at the CoN, visit

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