M.S. Clinical Psychology ’06, Ph.D. Clinical-Community Psychology ’12
Hometown: Idaho Falls, Idaho
Fun fact: Met his wife at UAA
Hailing from Boise State University (’03), Cody Chipp was drawn to UAA in 2004 for graduate school first because of its “exotic” location in Alaska. He stayed because of the timing with the launch of the UAA/UAF Clinical-Community Psychology Ph.D. program in 2006.
Clinical psychology has always held Cody’s attention; he enjoys the combination of clinical work wedded with research, in particular. Add in the community component of the joint UAA-UAF doctorate program, and Cody found his niche.
“I like how clinical-community psychology addresses more systemic issues,” he says. “The community piece looks at a much broader picture with an emphasis not only on individuals and communities, but on the diverse cultures of Alaska as well.”
Starting with the second UAA/UAF clinical-community doctoral cohort in 2007, Cody went on to conduct research through UAA’s Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services and work through practicums at Alaska Children’s Services, Anchorage Community Health Services and Alaska Family Medical Residency. He completed a doctoral internship at Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) and, since finishing his Ph.D., has remained at API to fill the role of a psychology resident focused on forensic evaluations.
“My initial internship supervisor was a forensic psychologist and there was a lot of bottle-necking in the system for people needing court evaluations,” Cody says. “The chief forensic psychologist was doing an incredible amount of work, so they needed a way to alleviate that pressure. I happened to be at the right place at the right time. They asked if forensics was something that I would step into, learning as I went. The UAA/UAF doctorate program didn’t have that component; very few programs do.”
Needless to say, though, the joint program did set him up well for success. “It was a rigorous training program that certainly has a focus on developing a workforce for the state,” he says. “Not only in clinical work, but also with respect to policy development, research and program development. It definitely created many opportunities for me.”
When he was a master’s student, Cody was a founding member of UAA’s Graduate Student Association (GSA), a student organization that lobbied for pay and benefits in graduate assistantships but was also a means of networking with peers. (One such peer was GSA co-founder Vanessa von Biela, whom he’s now been married to for just over two years.) In fact, networking is one of the reasons he’s always liked being a part of the UAA community.
“The state is small population wise, so it’s been great to be connected to other alumni in other communities and in different fields,” he says. “And then within the field of psychology, you get to strengthen those networks throughout your professional career statewide as well.”
In between making occupational connections, Cody and his wife can be found outdoors, biking, hiking and loving the Alaska life.