Keneshia has a passion for education and politics that was born out of her early experiences, growing up in South Florida. Raised by a single mother, Keneshia quickly learned that getting an education and understanding the political process would be the keys to a better life for herself and her community.
A first-generation college graduate, Keneshia earned a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Master’s in Public Administration at Florida A&M University (FAMU). During her time at FAMU, she was active in many campus activities. She served in the Student Government Association as the Student Body Vice President and pledged the Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. As a graduate student, Keneshia was appointed to the Florida Governor’s Access and Diversity Committee, where she was instrumental in the conception and passage of legislation that led to Florida’s first-generation matching grant.
At the completion of her Master of Public Administration, The FAMU Department of History and Political Science offered Keneshia a position as a visiting assistant professor. This early exposure to the profession of academia changed her career trajectory, and motivated her to pursue a PhD. As a member of FAMU’s faculty, she taught several courses in American Government and Public Administration. She also served as faculty advisor to the FAMU Student Government.
After working as a visiting assistant professor for two years, Keneshia went to Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs to pursue a PhD in American Politics and Public Administration.
During her time at the Maxwell School, she won numerous awards for her work as a teacher and scholar including: the 2012 Ronald E. McNair Graduate Research Fellowship, the 2012 Syracuse University Outstanding Teaching Assistant award, as well as fellowships from the Presidential libraries of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Keneshia’s dissertation, “Relocation & Realignment: How the Great Migration Changed the Face of the Democratic Party,” describes how the mass migration of Black Americans out of the South from the 1940s through the 1960s helped motivate the Democratic Party’s liberal development on racial issues.
Keneshia moved to Washington, DC in 2013, to accept a Presidential appointment to work as a Commissioner’s Special Assistant at the United States Commission on Civil Rights. In the fall of 2014, she joined the faculty of Howard University as an assistant professor in the department of political science, where her focus is American politics. At Howard, she teaches courses in American politics with focus on sub-national politics. Her research interests include American politics, American political parties, American political development, and sub-national politics. She is particularly interested in the political impact of Black migration on American politics. Her first book, The Great Migration and the Democratic Party: Black Voters and the Realignment of American Politics the 20th Century, is scheduled for release in early 2020 by Temple University Press.