by Wes Muilenburg
It’s hard to find people who are real. Genuine honesty seems to be in short supply, especially in today’s day and age. When you find someone who actually possesses these traits, it’s like stumbling across a treasure. Sophomore Joshua Cline-Cole is one of the realest people on the entire University of Northwestern – St. Paul campus.
Cline-Cole is drawn to realness. It is part of the reason why he ended up attending Northwestern. After growing up visiting the campus while his mom studied and worked there, he decided to come himself. “I enjoyed the feel of campus, and people mostly seemed pretty real,” he said. While obviously not everyone is going to be completely real all the time, he actively seeks out like-minded people. “The people that you find who are real are really real, and are very good to talk with,” Cline-Cole explained.
A unique upbringing and outlook make Cline-Cole himself one of the “really real” people, who always offer excellent conversation and in-depth thought. Born in England to two immigrants from Sierra Leone, he found himself in Minnesota at a young age. His family pinballed around to numerous towns, such as Burnsville, Apple Valley, Rosemount, and eventually Farmington. He and his two younger brothers, Kyros and Ethan, grew up there. Public school had lost its luster by eighth grade, so Cline-Cole transferred to a private Christian school, Trinity School at River Ridge. It was a 30-minute drive each way, making social gatherings a time-consuming matter requiring more planning than usual. Fortunately, Cline-Cole had his Kyros and Ethan to keep him company. “When you’ve got nobody else to hang out with, you hang out with siblings,” he recalled. Some of his favorite childhood memories are of playing Super Smash Bros. with his brothers.
In addition to providing a Christian outlook, Trinity Ridge offered a unique style of learning that directly affected how Cline-Cole approaches it. The school didn’t have any Advanced Placement or PSEO programs; instead, there were classes in Latin, Greek history, and other classical topics. The school’s motto – “sense of wonder and depth of inquiry” – guided and continues to guide the questioning nature with which Cline-Cole handles most classes and issues.
It is with this quizzical and hungry attitude that he attacks his two majors, computer science and health science. A love of biology, stemming from when he took it in high school, and an intense familiarity with computers led to his double major. Cline-Cole hopes to use the skills he learns to work in “bioinformatics, or studying DNA using computers.” Such a high work load obviously results in bountiful stress. It is extremely easy to start second-guessing everything in academically trying times, but “God always comes back and reassures me,” he said. This has resulted in a very significant growing process. Meanwhile, Cline-Cole loves finding new, fascinating ways to connect the two areas of study.
If a double major (technically triple, if the default Bible major is counted) wasn’t enough, Cline-Cole is considering adding a social justice minor. His newfound passion for the topic comes from copious time spent in the FORCE (Fellowship of Reconciling Cultures Everywhere) office. As he tells it, the FORCE office is the place to go to learn about things as diverse as Black Lives Matter and feminism, or to just nerd out about how awesome “Black Panther” was.
Despite being so exceptionally busy, Cline-Cole still maintains a healthy attitude about almost everything. Even when people around him are ignorant and stupid, especially on matters of race, he only has love, sympathy, and empathy. We can all learn from this Christlike outlook.