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COMO Business Times - The 20 Under 40 Issue - May 2024
Monday, April 15, 2024
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2019’s 20 Under 40: Dr. Sara Cochran, UM System

Dr. Sara Cochran

Entrepreneurial Programs Manager, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, UM System

Age: 37

Dr. Sara Cochran’s passion and intellectual curiosity for entrepreneurship education led her to hear a phrase she never expected.

It was “Congratulations, Dr. Cochran!” after presenting her dissertation on the role of gender in entrepreneurship education, thus receiving her doctorate in higher education with a focus on entrepreneurship education from MU.

After completing her PhD coursework, she became entrepreneurial programs manager for the UM System’s office of research and economic development.

“I get to work with students, faculty, and staff from all four UM System universities,” she says. “This means I get to work on a wide variety of projects, and no two days are the same.”

She oversees entrepreneurial programs such as the Entrepreneurial Educator Summit and Entrepreneur Quest on a system level, and she collaborates with the four UM universities on curriculum design and program development.

Cochran is also leading efforts to create an entrepreneurship minor, serving as interim director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and teaching principles of entrepreneurship at the Trulaske College of Business.

“I love watching students learn and grow and seeing their excitement and passion for entrepreneurship,” Cochran says.

Cochran was recently appointed to the board of directors for the United States Association for Small Business Entrepreneurship and is chair of its minority and women’s entrepreneurship committee. She’s also a local leader in her field, providing her expertise with Mizzou Venture Mentoring Service, Junior Leadership Columbia program, Columbia College’s pitch competition, and the Missouri Women’s Business Center.

“I think I’ve been most surprised by all of the twists and turns it has taken and the ways one thing has led to another,” she says of her career. “If you had told me when I graduated from high school that at my 20-year reunion I would have earned a PhD and that I’d be a college administrator and professor, I would have thought you were crazy.”

Fun Fact: Sara lived in New Zealand for four months in eighth grade.

Get to know the other class members here.

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