After obtaining a BA in Zoology from the University of Vermont, Dawn received her Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Pittsburgh. While at grad school, she spent her summers acting with the Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, and co-founded their successful Young Company. To supplement her studies while completing her thesis, she spent over a year performing improv with TheaterSports, wrote and performed her own bilingual one-person show, and toured with Shakespeare in the Schools, an outreach program bringing Shakespeare to students K-12. She also co-founded and performed with the stage combat/commedia/movement theater group GREX.
After receiving her MFA, Dawn moved to Chicago, where she worked as a professional stage actress for over 15 years. She performed with a number of award-winning and critically acclaimed theatre companies, including The Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater (winner of the Tony Award for Best Outstanding Regional Theater), Lookingglass Thea