Naliyah Kaya is the Coordinator for Multiracial & Native American Indian/Indigenous Student Involvement and Community Advocacy. As an educator, Naliyah utilizes poetry as a medium for teaching and social change. She encourages students to utilize artistic expression as they examine their own identity, beliefs, and values and as a form of activism in promoting social justice.
Naliyah began her journey into the spoken word scene in college when she joined The Dead Poets and began performing throughout the Seattle area. She and fellow poet Alive, would later establish and host Essence of the Soul Open Mic. During this time Naliyah also facilitated a creative writing course for the Black Prisoner’s Caucus at the Washington State Reformatory, which resulted in a poetry compilation entitled It’s Not by Coincidence…It’s by Design as well as a multidimensional presentation of the men’s poetry- Food for the Soul Monroe Poetry Project- designed to bring their voices to the greater community.
As a “poetic public sociologist,” Naliyah infuses poetry and photography into her sociological work. Her current academic research examines the intersections of spoken word poetry, identity and social problems. A native of Washington State, Naliyah grew up just outside of Seattle. She earned an A.A.S. from Shoreline Community College, a B.A. in Sociology from Hampton University, and received her M.A. & Ph.D. in Sociology at George Mason University. Her poetry has been published in Hampton University's literary magazine The Saracen (2005, 2006), George Mason University's Volition (2010), Voices of the Future Presented by Etan Thomas (2013) and Spindrift Art & Literary Journal (2002, 2010, 2015).