Sarah M. Pritchett
Concord University
Office of Advancement
PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712
(304) 384-6312,

After 4 p.m.
Office: 304-384-5211
Cell: 304-320-6405

May 14, 2021

Ph.D. Recipient Shanequa Smith Spotlighted

ATHENS, W.Va. – Concord University’s McNair Scholars Program receives funding from the United States Department of Education to provide services to socioeconomically disadvantaged students at Concord, Bluefield State College, and West Virginia State University who aspire to earn graduate or professional degrees.

In 2006, Shanequa Smith accepted an invitation to participate in the McNair Scholars Program through Concord University. As a non-traditional junior double majoring in Business Administration and Economics, Ms. Smith knew the McNair Program would increase the likelihood of her attending graduate school; however, she had no idea it would ultimately change her life.

Ms. Smith’s McNair research experience gave her the skill set and confidence to look beyond the undergraduate degree she received from West Virginia State University (WVSU).  Marshall University’s master’s program in Counseling soon became her next objective.  As a recipient of the Concord/Marshall University Graduate Assistantship Program, she received an application fee waiver, a renewable tuition waiver, and a stipend.

“Not needing additional student loans to continue my schooling and support my family was an answer to my prayers,” she says.

In 2010, Ms. Smith earned a Master of Arts in Counseling.  This accomplishment set the stage for the final leg of her academic journey: the road to her Ph.D. West Virginia University’s doctoral program in Human and Community Development was an ideal vehicle for her to explore her passion for improving community engagement.  Her dissertation took a phenomenological approach to understanding the perceptions and experiences of community members who participated in a two-year service learning project, with the goal of sharing lessons to improve university-community engagement relationships and practices.

She received her Ph.D. in May 2019 giving her the honor of being the first Concord University McNair Scholar from WVSU to earn a doctorate.

Dr. Shanequa Smith lives in the Charleston, W.Va. area and currently works with community members and institutions to strengthen equitable and collaborative relationships.  As a Restorative Practitioner and owner of Imperial Business Services, LLC, she focuses on dismantling systematic oppression.  Dr. Smith feels “blessed to use her education and religious/social convictions” to help others in need.

Concord University’s McNair Program is currently recruiting scholars from Bluefield State College, Concord, and West Virginia State University.  If you’d like more information on the Program, please contact the McNair Office at (304) 384-5153 or

Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086, if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.