Dr. Rashae Kapree Barnes received her Ed.D. in educational leadership and supervision from Virginia State University at 28, becoming the youngest scholar to receive her degree from the university. In addition, Rashae also earned a master’s in media management. The Coatsville, PA, native was determined to create a new path and leave a legacy for her family.
Barnes began her career as an English teacher but soon began to gravitate toward her passion for media and entertainment. “I’ve actually worked in the media and entertainment industry for over 10 years but I was juggling my career in education, career, and freelancing with media,” says Barnes.
Gaining experience hosting red carpet events, conducting interviews, and working with major media companies, including BET, gave Barnes the confidence to move forward. “When I became pregnant with my daughter, I decided I no longer wanted to be on someone else’s schedule. As uncomfortable as I was, I became a full-time media and entertainment entrepreneur.”
The HBCU experience further developed Barnes’s desire to succeed on her own terms. “The HBCU experience is important to me,” Barnes emphatically states. “Going to an HBCU was a no-brainer. I wanted to surround myself with people that not only looked like me but also shared some of the same like-minded goals and aspirations.”
Confronted with the challenge of managing a full-time career and entrepreneurship, working toward her doctorate was difficult but not impossible.
“Obtaining a doctoral degree in itself is very difficult. Working my media jobs and still being a full-time educator only added to the challenge. Time management was key in executing assignments on time and providing my best work in both arenas.”
An accomplished educator and entrepreneur, Barnes advises young women of color to be consistent, self-motivated, and driven. “Never wait for anyone, take control of your life because you can,” says Barnes. “Lastly, enjoy the process of your journey and not just the final destination.”