Rachel B. Dunbar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Alabama A&M University
President, ReDirect Consulting Inc.
Whether teaching young children or preparing college students to enter elementary school classrooms as educators, Rachel Dunbar, Ph.D., enjoys the challenge of helping others reach their full potential. “I’m excited when I’ve presented something to a student in a different way and he or she is finally able to say ‘I got it,’” says Dunbar, an Alabama A&M University assistant professor specializing in early childhood education. Dunbar is particularly proud of the P.O.W.E.R. (Placing Opportunities Within Everyone’s Reach) program she developed, which pairs A&M student mentors with low-income children at area Boys and Girls Clubs. Through various activities, the children gain exposure to career opportunities, financial literacy, and cultural and fine arts. “We’re trying to expose them to as much as possible to get them to see that there’s a lot more than living in public housing,” says Dunbar.
Dunbar draws inspiration from her grandmothers, Ruby Hughes and Virgie Nalls, both very prideful domestic workers. “Neither one of my grandmothers got above a third-grade education, but I am certain they are the two smartest women that I’ve ever met,” she says. “That’s what has motivated me to be successful. I want to carry on a legacy for my grandmothers.” Dunbar’s mother and two aunts were teachers. Following their footsteps into the same field, Dunbar earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University, a master’s from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and a doctorate from Georgia State University. In addition to teaching, she provides curriculum development and training services through ReDirect Consulting Inc., a company she founded in 2008.
In all of her work, Dunbar hopes to expose people to new experiences. One desire is to help more children obtain passports so that they may travel abroad. “Going to other states is nice, but seeing the other side of the globe is phenomenal,” she says.