Rachel Narehood Austin is an associate professor of chemistry at Bates College. She joined the faculty in 1995 after completing a Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her doctoral work in bioinorganic chemistry was augmented by supporting work in environmental science policy. She received a B. A. in chemistry and dance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1990.

At Bates, she teaches inorganic chemistry and general chemistry. Her research addresses the mechanisms of metal ions in biology. Her research at Bates actively involves undergraduate students, reflecting a belief that experience solving problems in chemistry is the best tool for teaching students chemistry and the best vehicle for sharing with students her own fascination with chemistry. She is also interested in increasing science literacy to provide citizens with the basic tools that they need to make decisions about complex issues fraught with varying degrees of scientific uncertainty.