Education advocate wins City Council seat

Alumna Dr. Kim Barber was just elected to the Monterey, California City Council. The 2018 Union graduate of the Ph.D. program with a major in Public Policy and Social Change, hopes her win gives rise to all voices.

“I am the first African American woman on the council. I hope my election opens doors to others to let their voices rise,” Dr. Barber said. “We need all perspectives at the table. Each of us is important.”

She remembers her experience at Union fondly.

“I credit Union for broadening my outlook. Career-wise, my doctoral degree gave me various options to pursue. My major in public policy gave me the tools to see how to make a change, not only in higher education but also in my community and city. I am grateful to Dr. Nelson Soto, Union’s former Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Betty Overton-Adkins, professor, and Dr. Jennifer Raymond, Dean of the Ph.D. Program in Interdisciplinary Studies, and many other professors who encouraged and gave me guidance at Union.”

Dr. Barber is the Director of Pre-College and Early Outreach Support Programs at California State University Monterey Bay, a position she has held for the last five years. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit, The Color of Education where she served for sixteen years. She is the 2020 Emerging Leader graduate of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

The longtime educational leader and businesswoman is passionate about diversity and inclusion.

“I am an advocate for students’ and women’s leadership. My passion and commitment over the last fifteen years has focused on increasing diversity, closing the achievement gap, academic excellence, preparation, and motivation,” Dr. Barber said.

She recently founded “Journey To Becoming” to inspire thought leaders and change agents on a global scale to live fulfilled purpose-driven lives. In addition to her Union doctoral degree, she holds a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Barber serves on a number of committees and boards and meets regularly with influencers and decision-makers to impact change in the community including Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Chair, Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel (WESTOP), 2020-2021 and President of the Central California Chapter of WESTOP, (2022-2023). She served on the Diversity Committee for The Council for Postsecondary Education and the Strategic Planning Committee for The Council for Postsecondary Education for the state of Kentucky.

She assisted in coordinating the White House Hispanic Initiative Visit in 2015 for Hispanic Awareness and Advancement. Additionally, she has spoken at Purdue University in 2017, the University of Kentucky Women’s Forum in 2018, and Association of Hispanics in Higher Education conference in 2019. She was also the keynote for Camp Fire, Inc. administrators in 2022 and much more.

Dr. Barber closes with this statement.

“My message to everyone is that success is possible. No matter what the challenge is, overcome, regroup and thrive!”


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