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On Oct. 26, 2012, Randi Alexandra Engle, 45, of Berkeley, CA died at home with her family after a two year battle with pancreatic cancer. A passionate and dedicated mentor, teacher, and researcher, Randi was Associate Professor in Cognition and Development in the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley. Randi was born on May 12, 1967 in Ridgewood, NJ, and grew up there and in Colts Neck, NJ. A 1985 graduate of Marlboro High School, she was class salutatorian and a cross country and track star. She received her bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College in 1990 with a double major in Psychology and Mathematics after taking an extra year to volunteer as a teacher at the East Hill Farm and School in Vermont and on the Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Arizona. Randi met her husband, Thomas Kuhn, while at Dartmouth. After becoming engaged, they confirmed their mutual love of the outdoors by hiking for two months on the Appalachian Trial. They married in July 1991 before moving to Stanford. Randi received her Ph.D. in Symbolic Systems in Education from Stanford University in 2000, welcoming the family's first daughter along the way. She then worked five years as a post-doctoral researcher at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh. During this time, the family welcomed their second daughter and Randi found her spiritual home at the First Unitarian Church in Pittsburgh. There she continued a lifelong love of music as an active member of the family choir. Randi subsequently joined the faculty in the Graduate School of Education at Berkeley in 2005, and was promoted to tenure in 2011. She was recipient of numerous professional and academic honors and awards, including an NSF CAREER grant, a Hellman Family Fund award, and a dissertation fellowship from the Spencer Foundation. Her studies of classrooms and of how discussions can be structured so that students can apply what they learn outside the classroom (known as "transfer") have changed the field's understanding of what teachers can do to make their lessons more powerful. Just before her cancer was discovered, Randi introduced her new family to their Norwegian relatives, continuing a lifelong love of travel. Her last trip was just two months ago to Hawaii to enjoy the spectacular scenery and revel in life despite progression of her disease. She is survived by her husband, Thomas Kuhn; and their daughters, Rebecca Engle and Gwendolyn Kuhn, all of Berkeley, CA; her brother, Russell Engle, of Fremont, CA; her mother, Ingrid Eldridge, of Colts Neck, NJ; and her father, William Engle, and stepmother, Kathy Engle, both of Dublin, NH. Her beloved stepfather, Sheldon Eldridge, predeceased her by just two months at age 96. Her love of life, her family, and her work inspired everyone who knew her. Donations in lieu of flowers, should be made to the Randi A. Engle Student Innovation Fund, care of the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley. Memorial Services will be held in the Alumni House on the UC Berkeley campus Friday, Nov. 9 at 2:00 p.m. A second Memorial is scheduled at the First Unitarian Church in Pittsburgh, PA Sunday, Nov. 25 at 1:00 p.m.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Nov. 4, 2012
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