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Ryan Cole '17

Coach puts his faith into practice

Ryan Cole '17, an academic support specialist and assistant football coach at Rogers High School in Spokane, feels he is exactly where God wants him.

Cole first discovered he loved working with high school students while at Whitworth, where he majored in psychology. He got involved as a volunteer and coordinator with the BELIEF Conference, which brings local students to campus for a college-prep program. The experience ignited in him a passion for mentoring high school students. His passion became a vocation that was reinforced through the relationships he developed with his Whitworth professors.

Now, at Rogers, Cole serves as an academic-interventionist, mediator and group counselor. He describes his primary role as being a resource for students. As the football team's varsity defensive line coach, he aims to transform students' lives on the field as well. "We are trying to develop these student-athletes into capable young men who are ready for the next step after high school," he says.

In both of these roles, Cole does his best to put his faith into practice every day, something he saw modeled in his Whitworth psychology courses and faculty mentors. "I just remind myself how God plays a role in what I do with these kids on a daily basis," he says.

Cole is also earning a master of education degree in school counseling at Whitworth. He hopes his degree gives him the skills to develop programs, connect with community assets, and build connections between the community, schools and parents, all to increase the resources available to his students.

"I think God has given me the tools and the right kind of heart to work with any age group," he says. "I see myself working with young people for a long time."

Ryan's story appears in the fall 2018 issue of Whitworth Today magazine, available here.