Dr. Nancy Joyner is a native of New Orleans. She earned her bachelor's degree in sociology with High Honor from Southeastern Louisiana University and received Southeastern's Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1979. Dr. Joyner left Louisiana to earn a Master's Degree in International Affairs from Florida State University where she was a university fellow. In 1970-71, Dr. Joyner volunteered for service in Vietnam as a Program Director for the USO outside of Saigon. Upon her return, she was named Outstanding Young Woman of Louisiana.
After completing her doctorate of philosophy degree in government at Florida State University, she was a lobbyist for women's rights, including equal pay for equal work, the Equal Rights Amendment, and Title IX legislation to give equitable treatment to women and men in education sports, and other educational programs.