Spring Commencement to Recognize Second in Family as a Double Graduate of WIU

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University graduate student Karston Cole is only one month away from the Spring 2023 Commencement Ceremony. Cole will graduate with a Master of Science in Psychology and Clinical/Community Mental Health.

Cole is completing an internship at the Illinois Department of Human Services Treatment and Detention Facility in Rushville, IL, where he is gaining experience as a behavioral specialist and will remain in this role post graduation.

“I am fortunate and grateful to begin my career with the wealth of theoretical knowledge and practical experience provided to me at WIU, especially within the CCMH program,” said Cole. “I would not have the opportunities that I do, or the ability to successfully engage them, if it were not for capable professors who were invested in both my professional and personal growth. I am proud to build on the legacy that I watched my mother create, and I look forward to developing a successful career in my own right.”

Cole owes much of his current success to his undergraduate alma mater, WIU. He graduated in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Despite graduating during the Covid-19 pandemic, Cole was able to celebrate with a small backyard graduation.

“Karston is a kind and caring individual that reflects his upbringing,” said Psychology Professor Tracy Cruise. “I love having thought-provoking conversations with him and am happy that he is enjoying his internship. He is going to be a competent professional who can work in any setting.”

In addition to his two Psychology degrees, he is not the first in his family to earn two degrees from WIU. His mother, Kate (Pietscher) Cole is a two-time graduate of the WIU Psychology department. Kate earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in December 2002 and returned to WIU to complete her Specialist Degree in School Psychology in May 2006.

WIU alumna Kate (Pietscher) Cole, pictured with son Karston Cole, a future WIU grad student

“I realized that when he graduates in May, he will be a second generation—double alum graduate,” said Kate. “That means we’ll have four degrees from the Psychology department between the two of us. I wonder how often that happens and think it’s pretty cool! I’m awfully excited to attend his graduation.”

For more information on the WIU Psychology programs, visit wiu.edu/cas/psychology/.

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