Episode # 16

Opening Doors for Your Community: Past, Present, and Future

Rahje Branch, Senior Program Manager for the Reach Higher Initiative, talks about fighting oppressive systems through education, the importance of rest, and paving the way for those that will come after you. She shares the story of her own “activist awakening” in college, and the responsibility she feels to members of her community - past, present, and future. Life After Now is brought to you by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.


Topics covered in this episode include:

  • Background and goals of the Reach Higher Initiative
  • The reality of being a first-generation college student 
  • Rahje’s passion for justice work and her awakening while attending college
  • Attending Harvard’s Education Policy program and learning from your peers
  • Trailblazing a path to make things easier for those that come after you

Rahje Branch

Episode Transcript


Rahje Branch works as the Senior Manager for Student & Family Engagement for former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative. 


She was a first-generation college student, eventually earning her B.A. in Political Science from Pepperdine University. While at Pepperdine, Rahje worked with her peers to lead a grassroots collective action movement, pushing for diversity and inclusion initiatives on campus. She has continued to work in her community as a scholar-activist and community organizer.


Rahje earned a Master’s in Education from Harvard University. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling; exploring new restaurants; and spending time with her friends and family. 

Share This Episode

The content of this site is published and managed by

© Copyright 2021 Minnesota Office of Higher Education