Tonya Burns

Board Member, UCI Alumni AssociationTonya Burns

CEO, Syntiant Corp.


UC Irvine – 1982, B.S., social science

University of Chicago – 1984, MSW


Tonya graduated from UCI in 1982, with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science. She then enrolled at the University of Chicago's School of Service Administration and received her Master’s degree in Social Work in 1984.

She has spent her career working with at-risk children and families, ensuring that they had the information, tools, and resources to enhance the quality of their lives. She was most recently the Executive Director of Children Today, a nonprofit organization that serves children of families experiencing homelessness and children served by Los Angeles County's child welfare system. While in this role, she served on the City of Long Beach's Mayor's Task Force on Homelessness, as well as Cal State University of Long Beach's Task Force on Homelessness. Prior to this role, she was the Executive Director of Victor Community Support Services, one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the State of California providing mental health services to children, youth and young adults, as well as the Division Manager of Crystal Stairs, Inc. - the largest child care subsidy organization in the State. She has served on numerous statewide and local advisory boards, task forces, and committees advocating for children and families.

She has two daughters, Tara and Terri and resides in Long Beach with her husband, Terry.