“I teach English and Peace Studies to make the world a better place, one class and one student at a time.”
Professor, English and Peace Studies, Richland College
In Randy Conine’s words, they are “the last, the least and the lost” – international refugees who struggle against incredible odds to be educated in the U.S. A faculty member of the colleges of DCCCD for 40 years, Randy established the Sharon Conine and Inez Austin Scholarship in memory of his mother, a “caring woman who taught others to have a tender concern for people from foreign lands,” he says. The scholarship also honors the memory of Randy’s wife’s mother, Inez Austin, who with great generosity of spirit hospitably opened her home and family to students from around the world since the fund’s inception.
When asked by a junior high guidance counselor why he wanted to be a teacher, Randy –then 13 – replied that he wanted to be a shepherd. “Perhaps the focus of my work with my life’s ‘flock’ has for the last ten years been my work with refugees and international students,” he says.
Randy began teaching at El Centro College in 1973, and in 1995 moved to Richland College, where he teaches English and Peace Studies. He received the Miles Production Company Excellence in Teaching Award through the DCCCD Foundation in 2009-10, and was DCCCD’s statewide Minnie Steven Piper Professor in 2010.
“These international students’ stories are frequently powerful and moving,” he says, “but there is precious little scholarship help for them.” In its nine years of existence, the scholarship fund has awarded more than $30,000 to nearly 30 students from around the world, the most recent from Uganda, Nigeria and Vietnam.
Randy teaches from the core of his beliefs: human rights issues along with questions and problems about social, economic and environmental justice. “I teach English and Peace Studies to make the world a better place,” he says, “one class and one student at a time.”
The Sharon Conine and Inez Austin Scholarship is available to international students at El Centro and Richland colleges who can show demonstrable financial need, have at least a 3.0 GPA and who maintain academic and ethical excellence in the face of their educational struggles.
The DCCCD Foundation provides ways for you establish a scholarship to support deserving DCCCD students with different needs.
Learn more about starting a scholarship fund or view some of our student success stories.