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Meet Your Professor: Dr. Stacey Cochran

Dr. Stacey Cochran

Associate Professor of Practice and Coordinator of Student Success and Wellness for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences



Dr. Stacey Cochran believes in manifestation – dreaming big and looking ahead, and then breaking those big dreams into small, achievable steps. He recommends that University of Arizona students get a notebook and write down their wishes (read more below). 

If you look into Dr. Cochran’s notebook, you might be surprised to see “Hollywood filmmaker” and “published novelist.” There’s more than meets the eye to this English professor. 

What’s the very best thing about your job at the university?

I love working with students on the research I’m doing – using innovative writing practices to improve the brain’s neuroplasticity and to help humans reach our greatest potential through autonomy, creative visualization, and by cultivating our nonconscious processes to achieve self-actualization. I’m enormously grateful for the cross-campus partnerships that have encouraged and supported this groundbreaking area of research.

Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in the Carolinas on the East Coast of the United States. When I was a kid, my family owned a small pop-up camper, and we would take many trips to the beaches near Wilmington and Myrtle Beach. Some of my favorite memories from childhood were of playing along the sandy boardwalk and in the arcades in Myrtle Beach.

What about you would most surprise your students?

That I’m a published novelist whose latest bestseller has been adapted into a major motion picture. We should see international theatrical distribution of the film (Eddie & Sunny) in winter 2022. Students tend to be amused that their writing professor has worked with movie stars and knows the nuts and bolts of working within the filmmaking industry in Hollywood.

What’s the hardest or scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Definitely making a mid-career switch to studying and implementing a writing and well-being approach to instruction and research. I had very few models to look to as I forged this new area of scholarship internationally for human advancement, and I often doubted how such an innovative and interdisciplinary approach might be received by my peers.

What advice would you give a new college student?

Get a really nice journal that you enjoy writing in and a good ol’ pen or pencil. Before going to sleep each night, put your phone away and write a brief note of self-compassion to yourself, then make a list of five to ten things you’re grateful for. 

Then, explore your deepest wishes and desires as free as possible of the internalized pressures society places on us. What would make you happy? What would bring your life meaning and purpose? What would help you to feel more engaged with other people in healthy and loving ways? And what are the inner blocks inside of you that may get in the way of achieving this fantasy or wished-for self? 

Finally, what plans or strategies can you use to overcome those inner (often deeply internalized) blocks that prevent you from reaching your full potential? If you journal like this every day, you can manifest pretty much whatever destiny you desire. But it takes dedication, focus, and frequent (daily) introspective journaling like this to help make it so.



Dr. Cochran’s enthusiasm and dedication to learning, teaching, and the well-being of others are inspiring. Look around, and you’ll find those qualities reflected throughout the University of Arizona, with every Wildcat making their own, unique contribution. What inspires you? Bring it to Arizona. 


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