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Cochrane Fellowship Fund

Established in 2017 by Dr. John J. Cochrane, Professor Emeritus and former Department Chair of the Northeastern University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Cochrane Fellowship Fund provides opportunities for doctoral students to explore cutting edge research and education at Northeastern University. The fellowship provides select students studying in the area of Environmental Engineering or Science full funding for the first academic year, allowing them to conduct research and progress in their coursework while working toward their PhD with their faculty advisors.

Cochrane Fellows


2017 Cochrane Fellows: Katherine Vilardi (left), John Cochrane, Cassandra Nickles (right)


Katherine Vilardi

A Rhode Island native, Katherine Vilardi graduated from the Wentworth Institute of Technology with a Civil Engineering degree in 2017. While at Wentworth, she was a member of the Women’s Institute of Leadership Development and the Wentworth Leadership Institute, as well as the philanthropy committee head for the Phi Sigma Pi Honors Fraternity. She worked extensively in undergraduate research at Wentworth, and held positions at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. She was an honorable mention for the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship.

Currently, Katherine works with Dr. Ameet Pinto’s lab, focusing on environmental microbiology. She is a member of Graduate Women in Science and Engineering, as well as Students of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Research, and Sustainability.


Cassandra Nickles

Hailing from Los Angeles, CA, Cassandra Nickles graduated Loyola Marymount University with a Civil Engineering degree and a minor in Applied Mathematics in 2017. While at Loyola, she served as President of the American Society of Civil Engineers, was a member of the Marians Service Organization, and was an active undergraduate researcher in their labs. She was awarded the College Scholar Award for the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering, as well as the Seaver College of Science and Engineering 2017 Jerome K. Doolan Award, a 2017 Presidential Citation, and the Slattery-Burns Engineering Full Scholarship Recipient

Currently, Cassandra works with Dr. Ed Beighley on a project supported by NASA's SWOT program. They plan to launch a satellite in 2021 that will analyze the Earth's surface water, enabling hydrologic discovery, model advancements and new applications currently not possible or conceivable. She is an active volunteer at the local Boys and Girls Club, and this is her first year in the PhD program at Northeastern University.

John J. Cochrane

Dr. Cochrane graduated from Northeastern University in 1960 with a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and returned to join the College of Engineering faculty in 1965, and remained a professor at the College for 30 years. He served as chair of the department from 1977 to 1980 and retired as Professor Emeritus in 2000. As a licensed professional engineer, he consulted on a number of environmental engineering projects in the Northeast. Throughout his career, Dr. Cochrane was active in professional societies including the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, the New England Water Environment Association, and the New England Waterworks Association. Those in our community who worked with Dr. Cochrane during his tenure at Northeastern will remember him to be an avid skier and sailboat racer, two activities that he continues to be involved with today.