Tonya Farrow-Chestnut

Tonya Farrow-Chestnut, Ph.D., is the Data and Senior Research Analyst at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.

Prior to joining the LDF, Dr. Farrow-Chestnut was the research consultant for the North Carolina Democratic Party 12th Congressional District Chair.  The Chair’s mission: “To make it plain: reach every corner and make sure we show up.” Farrow-Chestnut advised on voter registration and performed precinct mapping – Geographic Information System (GIS) based and voter analysis. 

Prior to applying her skills to voting rights advocacy and redistricting processes, Dr. Farrow-Chestnut was the Research Manager for the “How We Rise” project – a novel multi-city project by the Director of the Race, Prosperity, and Inclusion initiative at Brookings Institute.  The Brookings “How We Rise” project focused on policy solutions to upend structural racism.  She co-authored the Brookings Social Networks in Charlotte: Policy Choices, Policy Opportunities.  In addition, she authored the Brookings Social Networks Technical Report.

Prior to Brookings, Dr. Farrow-Chestnut was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) in the Geography and Earth Sciences Department where she authored Environmental Justice (EJ), Social Vulnerability and Cascading Disasters white papers and assisted in the development of CHASMS conceptual model of cascading disasters and social vulnerability framework during Covid-19, resulting in publication

Before her postdoctoral fellowship appointment, she was a lecturer in the Geography and Earth Sciences Department at UNCC.  Preceding her teaching assignments, Farrow-Chestnut was a transdisciplinary health geography research assistant in the Public Health Sciences Department at UNCC for the U.S. NC Medicaid CAHPS Survey Project.    

Dr. Farrow-Chestnut received her PhD and Master’s degrees in Urban and Regional Analysis, and Bachelor’s in Economics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Her dissertation scholarship focused on geospatial patterning of health risks, health disparity, and adverse outcomes applying a novel quantitative network approach, and exploratory spatial analysis.  Her Master’s Thesis focused on the socio-economic Indicators, National Priorities List (NPL) -Superfund Sites and cancer mortality in North Carolina using an EJ framework. 

Dr. Farrow-Chestnut has co-authored articles, reports, provided quantitative assistance on various research projects and presented her research at many national academic conferences.  She has examined overlapping systems of oppression at various levels to reveal the complexity of lived experiences within groups, modeled social processes generating inequalities using econometrics/ecological inference, spatial (GIS) and network analysis to document relationships of inequality.

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