Alison Cogan (Photo/Jenn Page)

Alison Cogan, MA, may be a civilian but she deeply appreciates the social and family life of military servicemembers.

Not only is her brother an active duty Marine, Cogan’s dissertation for the occupational science PhD degree she will receive May 12 during the 75th annual commencement ceremony of the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy focused on ways to optimize participation of servicemembers after mild traumatic brain injury.

“I’ve seen how families are affected by the deployment cycle, and the reintegration and readjustment process that follows,” said Cogan, who hails from Philadelphia. These issues, of course, become more complex with brain and bodily injuries.

Cogan will soon begin a two-year Veterans Affairs Advanced Fellowship in Polytrauma/Traumatic Brain Injury at the Washington DC VA Medical Center. There, she will hone her skills using large research databases, building toward her goal of becoming a funded, independent career researcher. Thanks to USC Chan, she’s well on her way.

“USC has given me so many tangibles and intangibles,” Cogan said. “I have learned how to be productive in ways that really matter, from faculty members who know what it takes to be successful.”

— Mike McNulty