After nearly three decades of newspaper journalism, Tonyaa decided to parlay her experiences and research on Cuba and Latin America into a graduate degree. In 2016, Tonyaa earned a masters of arts in mass communication, with a focus on international and intercultural communication, from the University of Florida. Tonyaa also earned a graduate certificate in Latin American Studies from UF as well. Her thesis  examined media influences upon rural Americans' attitudes toward Latino immigrants. 

Tonyaa also served as a graduate instructor for three semesters at UF 's Innovation News Center. There, she taught students how to produce news across web, radio and television platforms. She also taught as an adjunct journalism instructor during the fall of 2016.


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