Huntington, WV Black History

Shaunte N. Polk

Director of Intercultural & International Affairs

Shaunte Polk has made significant strides to connect the Marshall University, Huntington and Fairfield communities through her role as the director of Intercultural and International Affairs at Marshall.

Polk is a Beckley native but came to Huntington as a Marshall University student in 2003. After graduating in 2009, she remained in Huntington where she currently resides.

Polk began her work with the vice president of Multicultural Affairs at Marshall University under the leadership of Vice President Dr. Sherri Clarke, where Polk served as her graduate assistant for two years. It was during that time that Polk served on several community and university boards and worked to bring a multitude of award-winning and nationally-recognized programs and conferences that connected the Marshall and Huntington communities.

Polk’s career started in the Office of Admissions at Marshall where she moved through the ranks of the university with the support and direction of Maurice Cooley and the late Fran Jackson. it was their encouragement and guidance that helped Polk move from admissions assistant in the Office of Admissions to director of Intercultural & International Students in the Office of Intercultural and Student Affairs. As the director of Intercultural and International Students, she oversees the offices of the Center for African American Students, the LGBTQ+ Office, and the International Students Office, all of which are dedicated to promoting and celebrating diversity and inclusion. In this role, Polk serves on various campus and community boards and committees such as the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Marshall University Alumni Association, Marshall University Homecoming Committee and the Marshall University Black Alumni Association. These boards and committees have allowed her to bridge the Marshall and Huntington communities through events such as step shows, tailgates, church services and community service events; they have also provided her the opportunity to partner with notable organizations, and businesses such as the NAACP, A.D. Lewis Community Center and the Fairfield Community Development Corporation.

Polk also has played a significant role in honoring respected women of all backgrounds in Huntington through the Women of Color Awards Banquet, which takes place during Women’s History Month. In recent years, Polk has done groundbreaking work with the LGBTQ+ community by establishing the first ever Trans Closet, which is now the World Boutique. The Boutique which aids transgendered people in the Marshall and Huntington communities with donated clothing items and accessories to make their transition easier.

Polk also established the first Lavender Graduation at Marshall, which recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ students and allies. Those recognized are presented with a lavender cord to wear during their graduation ceremony. It is because of these efforts Polk has been recognized regionally and worldwide through news articles and segments from WSAZ, PBS, MTV, Teen Vogue and NBC.

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