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Connecting the ‘Why?’ with ‘How Can I Help?”: Meet Lauren Chapple-Love ’07

As a 16-year-old, growing up in Northern Illinois surrounded by stacks of true crime books, Lauren Chapple-Love ’07 had more than just an inkling that a career in forensic psychology was her calling.

“My mother was an avid reader of true crime series, and these books were always so tantalizing to me, because I wasn’t allowed to read them,” she recalls. “By the time I was old enough to read them, the sensationalism of ‘I can’t believe this horrifying thing has been done to another human being’ became more of ‘Why? What makes a person engage in something violent toward someone else?’”  

At the time, 2003, Bay Path was one of only four schools in the country that offered an undergraduate major in forensic psychology. The major, along with an academic scholarship she’d earned and an on-campus stay with students who, today, she counts as dear friends, brought Dr. Chapple-Love to Massachusetts and set the course for a career that has enabled her to connect the curiosity of “Why?” to the intention of “How can we help?”

Starting at Bay Path and subsequently through graduate school at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and a PhD in counseling psychology at the University of North Dakota, her studies and the professional opportunities they have led to give Dr. Chapple-Love a vast and varied perspective on criminal behavior, substance abuse, incarceration and rehabilitation.

“Bay Path gave me opportunities that I wouldn’t have had at a larger school,” she recounts. “My first correctional practicum was at Hampden County Jail, assisting with intakes, doing interviews and getting to shadow correctional officers. When I went on for my master’s in Chicago, I had a correctional focus, and that started at Bay Path.”

“Because of my Bay Path professors and the networks they had, I did my practicum with the Massachusetts State Police Underwater Recovery Unit. I was able to go through individual case records of people who’d died by jumping off the Tobin Bridge in Boston, literally sitting in a room with dusty folders. Then, I compared the research to what other cities, like San Francisco, were doing and presented my findings and my ideas on how to increase safety. That was a humbling experience.”

Today, Dr. Chapple-Love serves as president of the Nevada Psychological Association, where the same drive that provoked her to delve into the complex relationship between emotions and environments as an undergraduate is being applied to providing community mental healthcare, while advocating for systemic changes to the ways mental healthcare is accessed and experienced.

“In Nevada, we have the largest disparity in the nation between individuals who are trying to speak with doctoral-level practitioners of psychology and doctors they can speak with,” she notes. “As a Black doctor, I’m a part of a very small percentage of practicing Black psychologists. Here in Nevada, the third most frequently spoken language is Tagalog, and I can count on one hand the psychologists I know who are fluent enough to provide services. Not to mention what Spanish speakers face. This is hugely problematic.”

To that end, Dr. Chapple-Love has helped champion legislation mandating that all professionals engaging in direct clinical services, including social workers, licensed clinical professional counselors and psychologists have two continuing education credits related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Improving healthcare equity is the current goal.  

For Dr. Chapple-Love, the rewards of community-based work is ushering in a new professional phase, focused on advocating for patients both inside and outside the therapy room, and promoting the importance of accessible psychological care. “This year, I DJed on a float the Nevada Psychological Association had in the Las Vegas Pride Parade, showing people ‘We are here.’ We are learning, we are listening, and we are trying to do better, because that’s our job.”

Please visit the Forensic Psychology page to learn more about our program.