One of Waynesburg University's academic trailblazers will spend the summer honing his research skills alongside seven other students selected from across the nation.
To say that Friday, Feb. 22, was a good day for Waynesburg University sophomore men's tennis player Isaiah Cochran may be an understatement. The Akron, Ohio, native opened the 2013 spring season by going 2-0 in the Yellow Jackets' 7-2 win at Pitt-Greensburg. However, he had even better news waiting for him in his e-mail inbox.
The day after his wins against UPG, Cochran was finally able to make his usual check of his electronic messages, but what he found was far from usual. The standout student-athlete, who is a pre-med major at Waynesburg, learned that he was offered a place in the Sackler/NSF REU: Integrated Research at the Frontiers of the Biological, Physical, and Engineering Sciences at Yale University's Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute for the summer of 2013.
The Waynesburg sophomore will spend 10 weeks in New Haven, Conn., taking part in a program that will help prepare him for his desired career as a neurologist. Cochran's once-in-a-lifetime experience begins May 26.
The Sackler/NSF REU program provides research training for eight students for 10 weeks at Yale's Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute where students have the opportunity to train under the mentorship of faculty members through research. In accordance with the program leadership team, students selected for the program choose a research project from three areas: mechanics of cellular processes, protein function and misfolding, or technology and method development for integrated research.
During the Sackler/NSF REU program, Cochran will have the opportunity to participate in workshops and seminars ranging from laboratory methods to applying to graduate school. He will also present his work at a research symposium, which will be held in conjunction with Yale's SURF program and the CEMRI CRISP REU program at Yale.
“Medicine is not about self-glory; it is about doctoring, whether you have ‘Dr.' in front of your name or not,” said Cochran. “There is a revolution coming in medicine and it is geared towards patient equality.”
Devoted to making a difference in the medical world, Cochran traveled to Washington, D.C., this spring to attend the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) convention, where he had the chance to meet a number of pre-medical, medical, physical-therapy and pre-physician assistant students from across the country.
On the first night of the convention, Cochran gave a speech in front of 1,500 people for the pre-medical region one director position for AMSA, a student-governed, national organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. Cochran spoke of his drive for change and the steps he would take to help others reach their goals in the field. Two days later, he was informed of his victory in the election. He is now one of only five students in the country holding a regional director position.
Now, Cochran has the ability to assist and inform students in 12 states from Pennsylvania to Maine, including approximately 105 universities possessing AMSA chapters in the region.
As he continues his journey at Waynesburg, Cochran hopes to see more pre-professional students from the University reach their aspirations in the health care field. Starting the AMSA chapter at Waynesburg and participating in the Sackler/NSF REU program are only the beginning steps towards his determination to make a difference for future students.
“I am a trailblazer and don't care about my own glory,” said Cochran. “I want to see students come to Waynesburg because of what we have to offer in science. I want students with drive and a passion for our mission statement to come here and I want them to have the chance to reach their ultimate potential in healthcare.”