Professional Biography:

Tonya C. Hegamin has worked with women and minority focused organizations like Women Against Rape, Police Athletic League and Planned Parenthood since 1998. Her experience as a counselor, court advocate and community educator stems from her personal journey as “the only one in the room”– a bisexual and (dis)abled woman of color. In 2002, Hegamin attended the New School University’s Master of Fine Arts program, where diversity was lacking. In response, she organized and facilitated a  Celebration of Multicultural Children’s Literature which led her to become the first graduate of the Creative Writing program to sign two book contracts in their second semester. Hegamin’s authorship is focused on cultural history, inclusion, (dis)ablity, LGBTQIA+ and womanist perspectives. Her books have won awards, reviews and recognition from The New York Public Library, The Christopher Award Foundation, Publisher’s Weekly, The Washington Post and Essence Magazine. Currently, Tonya is an Assistant Professor at CUNY’s Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, NY and she is the Diversity and Inclusion Section Editor for the Journal Creative Writing Studies; she has spoken internationally about integrating diversity and inclusivity into teaching, working and creative practices. Tonya is also a Type 1 Diabetes advocate and works with a service dog named Bobo. She holds a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion Education and Training from Cornell University ILR.