Mike Cochran: A new face in chemistry

Emily Fiala, Reporter

Michael Cochran is sure in his element when it comes to chemistry. This new chemistry teacher here at DHS has had one heck of a life story. Traveling and working around the world, playing in a Division I baseball team, and growing up on the ocean are only a few aspects of his exciting past.


A Santa Barbara native, Cochran grew up on the Pacific, playing sports and surfing throughout his childhood.


“I played baseball, basketball, and football in high school. I loved to surf, and that’s when I decided to go to the University of California, Santa Barbara,” said Cochran.


At college, he studied environmental chemistry and geology. While getting his degree at UCSB, he was offered to play on the college baseball team.


“Out of high school, I got offers to play baseball and football. I decided to take baseball because it was a Division 1 scholarship. I played center field,” said Cochran.


After college, Cochran went into the environmental chemistry and geology workforce, travelling around the world to work in Indonesia, Australia, Thailand and Sweden.

“I liked working with the sciences when I went abroad, but I didn’t like the 9:00-5:00 working hours, the suits in the office, the cubicles, having the same sort of deal everyday. I love learning and hanging out with cool people, so I thought teaching might be a cool thing of me,” said Cochran.


After his cubicle job in Indonesia, Mr. C later went to Sweden, getting his first experience with teaching kids and handling a classroom.


“Sweden brought in a lot of Syrian and Afghan kid refugees…and I was a culture coach at a school and I was there helping them get used to the culture lifestyle in Europe. So that was kind of first how I got into the teaching gig and just being inside a school,” said Cochran.


After being in Sweden, Cochran decided he wanted to become a science teacher so that he could influence kids and try to help them find a passion for sciences, especially chemistry.


He then moved to Durango. Even though he had an exciting past exploring and working around the world, he is quite happy teaching here in this small mountain town.


He loves the science department and working with the staff here at DHS. He also loves the students, feeling excited for the future of us kids and the school in general.


“My end goal is to get students excited to actually be here at school and to be in class…to try and make their day more enjoyable in school,” said Cochran.


Mr. C’s story is definitely one of a kind. Travelling around the world and getting to experience new cultures is something everyone wants to do, and Mr. C has done it all. Even though Durango doesn’t seem as exciting as Australia or Indonesia, he is really happy to be here, sharing his Californian spunk and love of chemistry with everyone.