2014 Tillman Scholar

Michael LaRocca

University of Alabama

“My human experiences and time in the service have inspired me to help others and become a clinical psychologist.”

Mike’s interest in mental health began during his years as an Army infantry officer, during which he experienced much of the landscape of the human condition. Having served in Iraq, his transformative time in the Army was a testament to both the insidiousness of psychological distress and the power of empathy and rapport. Drawing from the human experiences of his service time combined with his desire to help others, Mike became inspired to become a clinical psychologist. Since then his interests have crystallized into clinical work, research, and teaching.

Mike earned a master’s degree in psychology at Pepperdine University, followed by doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of Alabama. As a Tillman Scholar, Mike continues to reach out to other veterans through his work. In research, he is studying predictors of depression and PTSD among combat veterans. In clinical work, he has also worked with veterans at several VA hospitals. Through his work in psychology, Mike hopes to draw on his military background to be of service to veterans through teaching, research, and clinical work.