Uplifting Black Voices: Kenyatta Shamburger


After various different career paths, Kenyatta Shamburger applied and was offered the position of director of Multicultural Student Affairs. 

Molly Blanco

Editor’s Note: This profile is a part of the Voices and Diversity collaboration series “Uplifting Black Voices.” 

Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Multicultural Student Affairs Kenyatta Shamburger has dedicated his work to supporting diversity and inclusion and enhancing the student experience at Iowa State. 

Shamburger was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His father was in the military, so he moved around the country during his childhood and grew up in several different states. 

He attended college at Northeastern University in Boston, majoring in political science with minors in psychology and African American studies.

“I had a great collegiate experience, both in and out of the classroom,” Shamburger said. 

Shamburger was an honors student and was involved on campus, participating in student organizations and holding several leadership positions. 

After he graduated from Northeastern, Shamburger worked in consulting. 

“One of the exciting projects that I had the honor of working with was Dunk the Vote, which won [former] President Clinton’s Points of Light Award,” he said. 

According to the website, Dunk the Vote is a non-partisan initiative that “supports and enhances accountable self-empowerment within and for Black communities.” The program views voting as a “public health emergency” due to the influence of COVID-19 on communities of color. Dunk the Vote aims to increase voter participation in the state of Massachusetts using social media. 

Following his work in consulting, Shamburger also worked for a social service agency that helped to provide support and advocacy for child abuse prevention.

After he gained some experience in the workforce, Shamburger decided to go back to school to earn his master’s degree in leadership and administration.

Shamburger heard about Iowa State from friends and acquaintances who attended the university. He decided to apply for a position as director of Multicultural Student Affairs, and he was offered the job.

His role within Multicultural Student Affairs includes attending fundraising meetings, discussing support and advocacy, participating in committees and engaging with students. 

Shamburger enjoys working with students and individuals who have been historically marginalized in higher education. 

“In addition to the students we work with, I also enjoy working with other colleagues as work to support students and enhance the student experience,” he said. 

He feels his work in diversity, equity and inclusion should be a focus across the university and not assigned to select offices.

“It should undergird the work that we all do,” he said. “We all have a responsibility to this work.”  

Shamburger is passionate about his work and feels it extends to the greater community. 

“The work I do professionally aligns with my personal values,” Shamburger said. 

His research interests include African American men in college, faith and spirituality and social justice. 

He feels there are a variety of scholars who have impacted his work and worldview, as well as his family, mentors and colleagues. Shamburger had the opportunity to meet one of these influences, Eddie S. Glaude Jr., last year. Glaude is an author and professor of African American studies at Princeton University. 

In his free time, Shamburger likes to travel and enjoys running and cooking. He described himself as an “avid reader and consummate student.” 

Shamburger is excited to be working toward his doctorate in the School of Education at Iowa State. 

Shamburger faced a number of obstacles in his career journey, but he feels these challenges helped him grow and learn as a professional. 

“I learned to believe in myself as well as form strategic relationships and have strong mentors who have helped me navigate different challenges,” he said. “Each of the challenges has helped me become a stronger and well-developed colleague and leader.”