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Mother daughter bond strengthened through work and education

February 17, 2016
KOKOMO, Ind. — Like mother, like daughter.

This saying holds true for Rachelle Purcell-LaMonde and her daughter, Nicole Purcell. With similar interests in art and psychology, both will graduate from Indiana University Kokomo in May.

Rachelle, 47, is majoring in general studies with minors in fine arts and philosophy. Nicole, 21, is studying psychology with a minor in fine arts.

The chance to attend the same university and to graduate together created a tighter bond between the pair.

“We get to have lunch in the café together,” said Rachelle. “We have even taken a lot of the same classes.”

They also grew closer through their campus jobs. Rachelle started working in the Career and Accessibility Center, and enjoyed it so much she encouraged Nicole to apply.

This experience provides them with multiple resources to succeed in their education and offers chances to think about their long-term goals.

“These ladies really work together nicely,” said Tracy Springer, director of the career and accessibility center. “When one of them has a weakness, the other has that strength and they play off each other.”

While the pair have their similarities and common interests, each have succeeded in their own separate endeavors.

Rachelle created artwork chosen for the Artist Alley in downtown Kokomo, and has organized career assessment workshops for career services.

Nicole planned the Job, Internship, Volunteer Extravaganza (JIVE) for career services, and also works with Jeff Batis, assistant professor of psychology, to start an art program at the Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility.

If funding allows, this program will raise awareness of the effects of addiction on the student’s lives. The art they make will be showcased at the IU Kokomo Art Gallery.

“Telling the stories of these kids is going to be incredible,” said Nicole. “Not only will it show what these kids are dealing with, but it will allow them a therapeutic release, too.”

Rachelle previously attended one year of college after graduating from high school. She said Kokomo has always been her home, and choosing to come back wasn’t difficult.

“I have always loved learning,” said Rachelle. “Since coming back, I still experience that same drive to succeed.”

Having attended a larger university for her first year, Nicole transferred home to IU Kokomo to be closer to family and to get the feel of a smaller campus.

“There are so many opportunities here,” said Nicole. “IU Kokomo is an interactive campus with easy access and professors who are very much interested in their student’s success.”

Both are sad their journey with IU Kokomo is coming to an end, but excited for their futures ahead.

Rachelle is anxious to use everything she has learned and apply it to her current career in property management. She also would like to become an activist to bring political and custody issues to light.

Nicole wants to earn a master’s degree in art therapy from Indiana University — Purdue University Indianapolis, and then continue to a doctorate degree in psychology counseling.

Story written by Emilie Hubbard. Emilie is an intern in the Office of Media & Marketing.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 02/19/2016