Eric Cochran
Mary Jane Skogen and Randy L. Hagenson Professor Eric Cochran

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering professor Eric Cochran has been named the inaugural Mary Jane Skogen Hagenson & Randy L. Hagenson Professor.

The professorship has been made possible by a generous gift from Iowa State College of Engineering alumni couple Mary Jane and Randy Hagenson.

Cochran, who received a B.S. in chemical engineering from Iowa State in 1998, has been part of the department faculty since 2004. His primary research activities include synthesis and characterization of heterogeneous block copolymers and polymer nanocomposites for applications ranging from asphalt modification and adhesives to directed self-assembly for photolithographic masks; and investigating the use of other renewable feedstocks such as glycerol as potential replacements for petrochemically derived monomers in specialty polymers. His teaching expertise includes the topics of thermodynamics, numerical methods, and polymers.

Mary Jane Hagenson
CBE alumna Mary Jane Hagenson

In 2019, Cochran was named director of the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2), based at Iowa State University. CB2 serves as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry & University Cooperative Research Center, which helps build partnerships between industry, universities and policymakers to promote the development of bioplastics and biocomposites.

He has teamed with R. Christopher Williams of the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at Iowa State on projects involving new techniques in asphalt paving, including asphalt derived from soybean polymers (see “Cochran biobased paving research team receives national honor,” published April 5).

The Hagensons have made this professorship possible in order to attract, support and retain the most outstanding faculty to further research and teaching efforts at Iowa State. They have envisioned the gift to provide seed money for expansive and transformational research opportunities and to attract high-achieving students – all with an eye toward helping Iowa State fulfill its land grant university mission of providing exceptional students with the best education to meet the needs of Iowa and the nation.

Mary Jane Skogen Hagenson and Randy Hagenson in earlier CBE ceremony
Mary Jane Hagenson and her husband Randy are pictured in a past Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering ceremony (Photo by Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)

Mary Jane Hagenson earned a B.S. in physics from Iowa State in 1974 and M.S. and Ph. D. in biomedical engineering in 1976 and 1980, respectively. She is a former member of the College of Engineering Industry Advisory Council, the CBE Advisory Council and is an inaugural member of CBE’s Hall of Fame, which was dedicated in 2013. Randy received a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1972, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering in 1973 and 1978, respectively. Both are retired corporate executives and also currently serve as Governors of the Iowa State University Foundation.

Mary Jane’s decades-long engagement with Iowa State and professional achievements have been honored by receipt of the College of Engineering’s Anson Marston Medal, which recognizes outstanding achievement in advancing engineering science, technology or policy having national and international impact in academics, industry, public service, government or other venues.


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