Some months ago, we asked alumni to share their success in the sciences. In several instances, the stories of success came not from the individual, but from a friend or spouse. Such is the case with the following story about Kim Randolph ’75, shared by his wife, Patti Harvey Randolph ’76. Today, after a somewhat circuitous route, Kim Randolph is teaching AP biology at Episcopal High School of Houston, Texas.
After graduating from Austin College with a degree in biology, he received a scholarship to Washington University in St. Louis for its then-new Technology and Human Affairs program, graduating in 1976. Through the years, he used his science background in almost every vocation he pursued—construction, oil field and wastewater technology, and now, teaching.
Kim is a rare “born” teacher. He doesn’t have a degree in education and has never taken an education class. I earned a master’s degree in education at Austin College in 1977, and I am still amazed at his natural insight, methods, and teaching techniques. He began teaching at EHS in 1996, at first teaching five freshman biology and AP biology classes. Now, as dean of students, he teaches only an AP biology class and coaches softball.
Kim has nothing but the highest regard for all of his biology professors at Austin College. He knows that the rigor of all of those classes prepared him to be the teacher he is today.
Kim is a success story for Austin College science because he has not only a love for biology but also an understanding of its relevance and application. He hasn’t won any awards; he is not high-profile; and he hasn’t been published, but his impact on his students and the inspiration they draw from him has led many to continue into various studies of science, becoming successful doctors, researchers, analysts, professors, teachers, and more.
So, as his wife, I say, “Keep up the good work, Austin College. Keep the standards high, the goals commendable, and the classes cutting-edge. Stay the course of rigor, relevance, and application.”
Patti did not consider her own science story—of squeaking through Environmental Biology as a freshman with the help and mercy of faculty member Dr. Howard McCarley—worthy of the title “success.” She did, however, successfully undertake a research project at his instruction to bolster her grade.
After weeks of daily logs and observation, she discovered she was growing flies for McCarley’s other lab projects. She earned a “C” rather than the failing grade she feared. That, perhaps, is another type of success in the sciences! Patti has been teaching for 16 years, the last 10 as the physical education teacher at Cunningham Elementary School in Houston.