Headshot for Rachel Narehood Austin


On August 19, 2021, Rachel Narehood Austin, Diana T. and P. Roy Vagelos Professor of Chemistry, published a paper in the Journal of Chemical Education, alongside Lauren Babb ’18, titled “Chemistry and Racism: A Special Topics Course for Students Taking General Chemistry at Barnard College in Fall 2020.” The article details how Professor Austin has incorporated antiracism into her chemistry curriculum by creating a special topics course that explores the ways in which systemic racism pervades the field of chemistry.

In the fall of 2020, when considering the actions that white professors could take to “do some of the work to educate others about systemic racism,” Professor Austin formed this one-credit, pass/fail course, meant to facilitate “intense conversation [and] reflection” on racism in Chemistry, with the hopes of catalyzing change on an institutional level. Her co-author, Babb ’18, co-facilitated the Chemistry and Racism course because of her interest in and commitment to diversifying chemistry. Learn more about Barnard’s commitment to Supporting Black Women in STEM Careers.