Scholar athlete credits college, instructor for helping him follow his dream

Two years ago, Josh Cochran didn’t plan on going to Meridian Community College.

“It just happened, and I’m really glad. I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else,” the Lucedale resident said. “It felt like home.”

Now with his associate in arts degree in hand, Cochran is on his way following his dream of becoming a dentist, and he credits MCC for setting him on the path.

A scholar athlete, Cochran came to play for the Eagles as an outside midfielder on a soccer scholarship; he’s leaving for Mississippi State University to study biology with a $5,000 scholarship from the Phil Hardin Foundation that was presented to him at the College’s spring commencement.

But that’s not all. Cochran is the first MCC student to be accepted into the pre-matriculation portion of the Mississippi Rural Dentist Scholarship Program because of his academic achievements and his commitment to rural dentistry. He learned of his acceptance into the program three weeks before graduation.

“That was a blessing,” Cochran said when he discovered he would be one of only seven admitted to the program.

The Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program tags up to seven college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become rural pediatric or general dentists in the state.

Specifically, the program offers two years of undergraduate academic enrichment, including Dental Admission Test preparation and clinical experience in a rural setting.

Upon completion of all dental admissions requirements, the student can be admitted to the University of Mississippi Medical School of Dentistry.

“It sums up to that I get a leg in the door for whenever I do get into dental school,” Cochran said.

photo: Josh Cochran works an experiment in the College’s chemistry lab. Cochran received the Phil Hardin Foundation Scholarship at MCC’s graduation and is the first MCC student to be accepted into the pre-matriculation portion of the Mississippi Rural Dentist Scholarship Program.

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