Category Archives: Events

Healthy Living Fair on April 24

The Richland College Counseling Center is coordinating a free Healthy Living Fair from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on April 24 in El Paso Hall. More than 20 campus and community organizations representing a wide range of wellness topics are participating in the event. Areas include yoga; alcohol and drug awareness; healthy eating; fitness; and health testing. For more information, contact Julie Hanson at 972-238-3771.

healthy living april 24flyer-1

Richland to host City of Dallas recycling event

Richland College will host the City of Dallas’ 2013 Recycling Spring Round-Up from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on April 27 in Parking Lot E on the Richland campus.

Residents are invited to drop off a variety of items including pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, electronic items, paper, textiles, used cooking oil, scrap metal, tires, batteries, plastic and styrofoam. Household chemicals or paint, building supplies, and furniture or mattresses will not be accepted.

Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road in Dallas. The Recycling Round-Up will be held rain or shine. For more information and a complete list of allowed recyclable items, click here.

Wall of Honor 2012-2013

Nde Ben-Collins “Collins” Asongwe
Nde Ben-Collins "Collins" Asongwe

American author Gail Sheehy wrote, “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” By this measure, Collins Asongwe is living a full life.

Even though he is young, Collins has faced multiple life-altering events. The first challenge came when as a 10-year-old, he was sent to Sacred Heart Boarding School in his home country of Cameroon. Being far from home at a young age was difficult but over the next seven years, Collins “was able to survive and finally thrive in the process,” earning the honor of being elected leader of his dormitory and finishing school with excellent grades.

Change would come again when Collins’ father arranged for him to go to college in the United States. His father found a Cameroonian couple living in Dallas who would sponsor Collins and allow him to live at their apartment. Collins landed in Dallas in March 2010 without knowing a soul and waited several hours at DFW International Airport for someone to pick him up.

“Once again I was in a new environment that required adapting,” he says. “This was a new culture, a new educational system, and new people”

Undaunted, Collins enrolled at Richland College in May 2010 and figured out how to get to campus taking the DART bus. He left at 5 a.m. to take his first class at 8 a.m. The first year of college was demanding, but Collins’ hard work was paying off.

He was fulfilling his dream of getting an education in the U.S. when his sponsor became seriously ill. Even though he was taking 17 credit hours and trying to maintain a 4.0 GPA, Collins took his sponsor to doctor’s appointments and assisted his care. Collins’ sponsor did not respond to medical treatment and eventually died.

Still reeling from the loss of his sponsor and friend, Collins was faced with a stark reality: if he didn’t find another sponsor, he would have to return to Cameroon before completing his education. Through the friendships made at Richland College, Collins found another sponsor and a part-time job as an economics tutor in The Learning Center.

Collins not only tutors in economics but also helps students with French, study skills, and Calculus I, II and III. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and is a founding member of Mu Alpha Theta (Richland’s Math Club).

“The full table of students who regularly come to seek his academic help and guidance is a testament to Collins’ positive attitude, mastery of various subjects and energetic personality,” writes one of his nominators, John Millemon of The Learning Center.

Collins will graduate from Richland this May with an associate degree in mathematics. The next change in his life will be when he transfers to The University of Texas at Dallas to study actuarial science.

“All of these experiences have encouraged me to find a way to cope with challenges. I have found friends and given and received support from others,” Collins says. “I am appreciative of the opportunities I have been given and I seek to contribute to others through my career and my life.”

A.C. Cristales
A.C. Cristales

A.C. Cristales knows about beating the odds.

He was raised by a single mother who spoke limited English. He grew up in a rough neighborhood in Garland where gangs and drugs were the norm. He was one of the only people in his family to graduate from college. He took it a step further and went to graduate school.

Today, A.C. is an assistant principal at Sam Houston Middle School in Garland – the same school that he attended as a young student.

“He believes that children who have ‘negative labels’ can change – he is a prime example,” says Kay Coder, a Richland sociology professor and A.C.’s nominator. “He has devoted his life to making a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Kay first got to know A.C. in her Introduction to Sociology in the spring of 2000. He also took her Marriage and Family sociology class in the fall of that same year. Kay says it was evident in class that A.C. had a talent for expressing himself well, both in writing and in person.

But it was A.C.’s willingness to share personal experiences with his peers that impressed Kay and his classmates.

“In Marriage and Family, students are encouraged to examine their family and socialization process to understand more about themselves,” Kay says. “Because of A.C.’s honesty and willingness to share his experiences and self-examinations, many students in our class were able to dispel many myths and stereotypes about males in general and Hispanic males in particular.”

A.C. went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2003 and a Master of Education from Texas A&M University – Commerce in 2005.

He has been a public educator more than 10 years, serving as a teacher and assistant principal. A.C. is passionate about helping young people but he also takes every opportunity to inspire parents and educators, whom he believes have the greatest impact on students.

He also volunteers at a local food pantry and is a motivational speaker for various organizations including a leadership seminar and a local women’s prison.

“People of all racial and economic backgrounds connect with A.C.,” Kay says. “His life story alone provides hope and encouragement that through hard work and perseverance, obstacles such as the confinements of family life, lack of monetary resources, and the overwhelming amount of peer pressure that young people face today do not have to be barriers to achievement and success.”

Melinda Fitts
Melinda Fitts

Melinda Fitts is the kind of person who takes her elderly neighbor to the grocery store. She reads to preschoolers at a local school every week. She volunteers at church. She puts herself second and others first.

Melinda’s husband died in a work-related accident in 2004. All of the sudden, she was a widow and single mother raising her daughter, who is now 12. Pursuing her dream of a college education wasn’t on the top of her priority list.

The strain of her husband’s untimely death caused Melinda’s stress-related speech disorder to worsen. It was very difficult for others to understand her when she spoke and ultimately, Melinda lost her job. Her prospects for re-employment did not look good. Encouragement from a friend changed Melinda’s direction.

“My dear friend Tammy challenged me to enroll in college and pursue my life-long dream of an education, which I was too intimidated to consider by that time,” Melinda says. “I met her challenge and went home to apply that same day. I am grateful to her to this day for her role in changing my life and the example I set for my kids.”

Melinda got help for the speech issue from a therapist she knew from church. She was thriving at Richland, maintaining such high grades that she was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa.

At the same time, Melinda was raising her daughter and her grandson. In 2011, just weeks after Melinda’s grown daughter was able to once again care for her son, Melinda’s mother suffered a stroke. She put school on hold for a few semesters to care for her.

After a while, her mother needed more expert care than Melinda could provide. She moved her mother to a facility close to her home and eventually went back to school. Melinda prepares her mother’s breakfast and visits with her at least six days a week. Melinda says she learned her kindness toward others and dedication from her mom.

“When I was growing up, my mom demonstrated Christ’s love for all of those around her and was an example of perfect faith for as long as I can remember,” Melinda says. “I aspire to the example she was for me.”

Last May, Melinda graduated from Richland with an associate degree and a 3.6 GPA. She transferred to The University of Texas at Dallas and is pursuing a degree in speech-language pathology and audiology. She hopes to work with stroke victims and/or people who have had traumatic brain injury.

“Melinda Fitts is a prime example of what can be done even in the midst of personal adversity,” says Sam Tinsley, a professor at Richland and Melinda’s nominator. “She was a joy to teach and an inspiration to me and her fellow students.”

Josiah Geffie
Josiah Geffie

Josiah Geffie knows the value of education. He was a public school teacher in Liberia, Africa, before the first civil war in the late 1980s forced his family to flee their home country.

Josiah, his wife and their five children took shelter in neighboring Ivory Coast. Josiah lived there from 1990 to 2009 until he had the opportunity to come to the United States through the Refugee Resettlement Program. He chose to come to Dallas, where his niece was living. His family stayed behind.

Josiah knew education would hold the key to new opportunity in the United States. He learned of the programs at Richland through his resettlement program sponsor. Josiah chose the pharmacy technician program and has maintained strong academic performance in each of his courses.

Last September, Josiah successfully passed the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board examination. Josiah was awarded the Community Pharmacy Technician Certificate, and is expected to earn the Institutional Certificate this year. Last fall, he began pursuing an associate degree.

Finding employment is Josiah’s greatest challenge, but he dreams of being able one day to afford to bring his family to live in Dallas.

Josiah notes that among the Liberian nationals he’s met in the U.S., there is often a sense of hopelessness about the investment of time that education requires. Josiah hopes his persistence and success as a student has motivated his compatriots to consider continuing their educations here in the United States.

“He radiates the hope, strength and resolve that will bring him great success in his career as a pharmacy technician,” says his nominator LiAnne Webster, administrator of Richland’s pharmacy tech program. “The circumstances that he has overcome are an inspiration. He serves as a great example to all.”

Dominique Jamal “D.J.” Wright
Dominique Jamal "D.J." Wright

Determination and faith. These words describe D.J. Wright, a young man with beautiful dreams for the future. Even though his life was tragically cut short, D.J. continues to inspire others.

D.J. started out at Richland College to earn an Associate of Arts in Teaching degree. He paid his own way taking credit classes, sometimes only being able to afford two courses. Despite financial difficulties, D.J. was determined not to give up on his dream.

He took a part-time job in Richland’s Facilities Services department. Unfortunately, he was laid off after a year of service due to budget cuts. D.J. again did not let unwelcome news destroy his hopes and dreams of getting an education and making something of his life.

D.J. heard there were grant monies available for students wishing to acquire a trade through the Richland College Machine Operator program at the Garland Campus. D.J. applied and was awarded a grant.

Celes Oppedahl, associate dean of Workforce Training, says D.J. demonstrated excellent customer service skills, was open to learning new things, had respect for all individuals, and was a quick learner.

“D.J. was an excellent student. His dedication to learning new skills and expanding his knowledge was an example for all students,” Celes says. “He had a positive attitude and always gave 100 percent to the program. D.J. is everything you would look for in a student or future employee. His future was unlimited.”

D.J. graduated from the 10-week program and two-week internship at the top of his class with exemplary remarks from the instructors, case management, staff, and the company supervisor where he interned. He was hired as a machinist at one of the leading telecommunications manufacturing companies in the area. His mother, Richland employee Sharon Wright, says D.J. was excited and hopeful.

On Oct. 23, 2012, tragedy struck – robbing D.J. of a promising future. He passed away after a serious automobile accident. He was 22.

From D.J.’s success at Richland to his volunteer work with the youth at his church and in the community with pee-wee football and basketball, Sharon says D. J. leaves an inspiring example for others – especially D.J.’s five-year-old son, Jeremiah.

“The moral is to never give up on your dreams, enjoy life, love one another and live as though each day is your last,” Sharon says. “Trust in the Lord, that not your will, but His will be done. God gave me D.J. for a season, to love and care for, and watch grow into this exceptional young man. And I thank Him. I miss D.J.’s laughter … he made us smile.”

Richland College to host Health Professions Information Days, March 25-28

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2020 about 28 percent of all new jobs in the U.S. economy will be in the health care and social assistance industry. An aging population, longer life expectancies and new treatments and technologies will drive growth in this sector.

To meet the rising demand for training and education in health science fields, Richland College is offering Health Professions Information Days, March 25-28. During the event, aspiring health care workers will receive career advice and insights from medical professionals and educators.

Participants will have an opportunity to explore a broad range of careers, including nursing, imaging technology, speech pathology, occupational therapy, dental hygiene and other allied health programs.

Breakout sessions will be facilitated by university recruiters, program directors and local physicians. Higher education institutions represented include Richland College, El Centro College, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Baylor University College of Nursing, Texas Woman’s University and The University of Texas at Arlington.

Click here to view a detailed schedule of events during Health Professions Information Days. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road in Dallas. For more information, please contact Lesley Benton at 972-238-6044 or

Enrollment opens March 1 for summer STEM Camp

STEM CampEnrollment begins March 1 for Richland College’s industry-recognized summer camp to introduce young students to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

STEM Camp 2013 will be from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, June 10-28, at Richland College. The three-week camp, designed for students ages 13-18, gives campers the opportunity to explore fields of study including: aerospace, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering; CAD/CAM manufacturing; engineering and manufacturing technology; and Web design and multimedia.

Camp participants select a program track they wish to explore in greater detail during the camp. They will work with Richland College faculty to complete an integrated project related to an overall camp theme.

Campers also will attend tours and seminars with industry leaders and will be introduced to instructional opportunities and student services at Richland College. STEM Camp culminates with a rocket launch competition beside Lake Thunderduck on campus.

Richland’s STEM Camp has been recognized by industry leaders, earning a nomination for the Metroplex Technology Business Council’s 2012 Tech Titan Award and an award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Tuition for STEM Camp is $300. Enrollment is limited to 100 students who must be U.S. citizens or documented residents. Requirements also include a current school grade report, passing TAKS scores, and a math or science teacher nomination. Needs-based tuition waivers are available.

Visit for more information and for an application. To register, contact one of the following:

Teresa Lynd

Jocyln Hanson

Roderick Crowder

30th annual Literary Arts Festival announced

Richland College’s 30th annual Literary Arts Festival will feature lectures and readings by authors, poets, scholars and a playwright. The four-day celebration of the written word, March 4-7, culminates with readings by Richland College faculty members and students. All events in the festival will be held in the Richland College Library and are free and open the public.

Monday, March 4

Miroslav Penkov
11:15 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.

Miroslav Penkov was born in Gabrovo, Bulgaria. His stories have won the BBC International Short Story Award 2012 and The Southern Review’s Eudora Welty Prize and have appeared in A Public Space, One Story, Orion, The Sunday Times, Granta magazine, The Best American Short Stories 2008 and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2012. East of the West (2012), his first book, was a finalist for the 2012 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and the Steven Turner Award for First Fiction by the Texas Institute of Letters. Mr. Penkov teaches creative writing at the University of North Texas, where he is a fiction editor for the American Literary Review.

Farid Matuk
12:20 – 1:20 p.m.

Farid Matuk was born in Peru to a Peruvian mother and Syrian father; he has lived in the U.S. since the age of six. Matuk is the author of This Isa Nice Neighborhood (2010) and Is it the King? (2006). His poems have appeared in 6X6, Barrelhouse, The Boston Review, Big Bridge, Cannibal and Mandorla. Mr. Matuk’s essays and reviews have appeared in Sentence, Cross-Cultural Poetics, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. This Isa Nice Neighborhood was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2011 Arab American Book Awards, named a finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award by the Poetry Society of America, and chosen by Geoffrey G. O’Brien for inclusion in the Poetry Society of America’s New American Poets series. He serves as poetry editor for FENCE and is a recipient of Ford and Fulbright fellowships.

Tuesday, March 5

Karla Morton
9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Karla Morton, the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, has been described as “one of the more adventurous voices in American poetry” and has been featured on Good Morning Texas, NPR, ABC News, CBS News and in countless newspapers, blogs and magazines. As the first female Texas Poet Laureate in nearly 20 years, Ms. Morton created the Little Town, Texas Tour. As part of the tour, she has traveled across the state, sharing her poetry and love for the arts with high schools, universities, arts organizations, bookstores, conference attendees and more.

Fred Curchack
11 a.m.  – 12:15 p.m.

Fred Curchack has written and performed 78 original theatre pieces (51 ensemble works and 27 solos). His plays have been featured at dozens of international theatre festivals including Next Wave-BAM, Theatre of Nations, Theater der Welt and Theatre des Ameriques. Mr. Curchack has received the Gold Medal at the International Festival of Solo Theatre, the American Theatre Wing Award, and Critics’ Awards in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and Austin. His work has been “best of the week” in the Los Angeles Times, “top ten of the year” in The New York Times, “top ten of the decade” in The Austin Chronicle, and in the “top ten of all-time” in The Dallas Morning News. Mr. Curchack has taught theatre at the United Nations International School in New York and at Sonoma State University in California and is currently a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Wednesday, March 6

Matthew Henry
10:10 – 11:05 a.m.

Matthew Henry is currently a full-time faculty member in the Richland College English department, where he teaches courses in composition, African-American literature and cultural studies. He is the author of The Simpsons, Satire, and American Culture (2012), exploring the significance of the animated show’s satirical commentary on American social issues. Dr. Henry’s scholarly pursuits are not limited to “The Simpsons”; he has published articles on African-American literature and film as well as lesbian identity in film and television. As a Fulbright Scholar, he taught at the University of Potsdam in Germany during the 2010-11 academic year. Dr. Henry was a finalist in 2009 for Richland College’s Excellence in Teaching award for full-time faculty members.

Lori Ann Stephens
11:15 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.

Lori Ann Stephens’ book, Song of the Orange Moons, is a mosaic of stories that follow the intertwined lives of three girls coming of age. Two young girls from Jewish and Christian families and their elderly widow next door try to find happiness in a seemingly cruel world. In spite of their different cultural and economic backgrounds, Rebecka, Helen and Adelle all share the delicate and self-conscious journey to womanhood. All three search for love and meaning in a variety of places:  a charismatic church, a Depression-era orphanage, a moonlit Savannah park, and an orthodox Jewish boarding school and end up finding lasting strength in the power of their friendships. Ms. Stephens is a lecturer at Southern Methodist University.

Thursday, March 7

The Joe Stanco English Faculty Readings
11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Richland College English faculty members share their own original works of poetry and prose.

Student Readings
12:30 – 1:50 p.m.

Richland College’s brightest student writers share their original work.

Richland offers spring break robotic camp for young students

Richland College is hosting the Robots-4-U day camp from March 11-15 for students ages 7 to 17. Campers will learn science, problem solving, teamwork and technological skills as they build robots. Robots-4-U provides boys and girls a hands-on learning experience for beginner to intermediate levels. The camp includes daily robotic challenges including dynamic art and a robot competition on Friday.

Tuition for the five-day camp is $299.95 per camper. Robots-4-U is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday the week of March 11. Campers need to bring their lunches. Class size is limited to maintain a one-instructor-to-10-student ratio. For more information, contact Heather Lozano at 972-238-6918 or To register, visit

Robots-4-U is offered through Richland College’s ongoing commitment to provide programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields to address industry needs and cultivate STEM careers interest for students. Richland also offers a STEM summer camp for middle and high school students. To learn more about the STEM summer camp, contact Brian Fleming at 972-238-6321 or

‘Music, Magic and Movies’ on March 14

Experience memories and magic as Richland College Emeritus plus 50 Program presents “Music, Magic and Movies,” a special event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 14 in Fannin Performance Hall.

This one-time event will feature Dallas’ own The Levee Singers (Ed Bernet, Dick Bernet, Ralph Sanford and Ralph Lindsey), who will thrill the audience with the melodies of yesteryear. Magician and motivational speaker David Hira will amaze and inspire guests with dazzling illusions and words of wisdom. Film critic and humorist Larry Ratliff will highlight unforgettable cinematic moments as well as serve as the the master of ceremonies for the event.

The admission price to “Music, Magic and Movies” is $15, which includes box lunch. Call 972-238-6147 today to register. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road in Dallas.

Richland, SMU to host peace educators’ forum

The Richland College Institute for Peace and the SMU Embrey Human Rights Program are hosting a gathering of peace/justice/human rights educators to discuss available programs in the area and collaboration opportunities. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 23 in room SH118 of Sabine Hall at Richland College, 12800 Abrams Road in Dallas.

Rais Bhuyian, 2011 Peacemaker of the Year, and Karen Blessen, artist and art/peace educator, will give presentations. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free but registration is required. To register, contact Scott Branks del Llano at or 972-238-6369.

Earth-friendly lawn care seminar offered

Richland College and the City of Dallas are offering a seminar on the most effective and earth-friendly way to care for your lawn. The event will be from 9-11 a.m. on Feb. 2 at Fannin Hall on the Richland College campus. Subjects covered will include basic care for your lawn, common turf problems, how to water most efficiently and much more. There also will be a question-and-answer session with licensed irrigators on minor sprinkler system repairs and a drawing for bags of Green Sense organic fertilizer donated by Rohde’s Nursery & Nature Store. Reservations required. Register online at or by calling 214-670-3155.