Ohio Northern University 2022 engineering graduate Andrew Cochran, an accomplished tennis player, has been selected to receive a coveted NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
The NCAA awards up to 126 postgraduate scholarships annually. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are at least in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition.
The one-time, non-renewable scholarships of $10,000 are awarded three times a year corresponding to each sports season (fall, winter and spring). Each sports season, there are 21 scholarships available for men and 21 scholarships available for women for use in an accredited graduate program.
Cochran, who graduated from ONU this spring with a degree in electrical engineering, was a four-year member of the men's tennis team.
"When I came to college, I wasn't really sure if I was going to play sports because I was really focused on engineering and academics,” Cochran said. “I chose ONU and ultimately got to play tennis. It was really rewarding to be able to play tennis and be around my teammates while balancing that with academics. I don't know that I could've done that at many other places. It was really cool for me to receive this scholarship because it describes what I wanted out of college with that balance between academics and athletics."
Cochran plans to use the scholarship to help him earn a Ph.D. in computer and electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he’ll begin his studies this fall.
"I'm going to be working on a project researching neuron probes to read brain waves," Cochran said. "In the long term, I want to get involved in research in that area or work as a professor or at a large tech company."
It's a career path that Cochran hadn't always envisioned himself taking.
"I came to ONU with the goal of being a mechanical engineer at a local company in my hometown," he said. "I ended up switching to electrical engineering and really enjoyed the technical content, and with the help of my advisors, I decided to go to graduate school."
Cochran credited ONU's strong STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming and the flexibility of his professors and coaches with the success he has had as a student-athlete.
"When I applied to graduate schools and for scholarships, it was cool to see that I was able to compete with students from large schools," he said. "There aren't many places where you can balance the workload between academics and athletics. My professors worked with me to work around my tennis responsibilities, and my coaches worked with me when I needed to focus on my academics. It also helped that I had teammates around me who were also STEM majors."
Cochran leaves behind a decorated career as a Polar Bear student-athlete.
In 2022 alone, he was named to the CoSIDA At-Large Academic All-America Second Team and All-District 7 First Team and earned ITA Scholar All-America, Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference and All-OAC First Team honors. He was one of just 19 members of the CoSIDA Division III Academic All-America men's at-large teams to boast a perfect 4.0 GPA.
He closed his ONU career as a three-time Academic All-OAC selection, three-time OAC Player of the Week and two-time First Team All-OAC and ITA Scholar All-American honoree.
Cochran was 12-12 in singles and 19-8 in doubles for an overall mark of 31-20 in his senior season while helping to lead the Polar Bears to setting the program record for single-season victories with a mark of 23-5.
Northern went a perfect 6-0 in conference play to win their 10th OAC Regular Season championship in program history and went on to win their 11th OAC Tournament championship, marking the first time since 2013 that ONU had won either title. The Polar Bears closed the year with an NCAA Tournament victory over Grove City (Pa.) before falling to eventual national runner-up Case Western Reserve in the second round.
In four years at ONU, Cochran was 86-50 overall, including 42-26 in singles and 44-24 in doubles.