Cody Newman

Bachelor's in petroleum engineering

Cody Newman.

Cody Newman studies petroleum engineering and trains as a ROTC cadet. So why did summer 2017 find him fighting wildfires in Alaska and the Lower 48?

“It’s fun, something I enjoyed — the physical labor and just the work,” Newman said. “It’s another door to have open.” 

Newman joined the UAF Wildland Fire Crew, which helps train students in the wildland fire science program. However, Newman didn’t enroll in the courses; he just wanted the experience.

“After trying it out, it’s definitely a possibility,” he said of firefighting as a career option. “All the different directions to go, it’s just another.” 

Newman certainly has options, but he plans to stick with petroleum engineering for the moment. In summer 2018, he’s interning with an Oklahoma oil drilling company.

The company, founded by former UAF student Trent Latshaw, is now one of the largest independent drilling contractors in the U.S.

“It’s a change of plans,” Newman said. “In past summers, I’ve gotten to do Army or other training, so this is fun.”

When Newman graduates in May 2019, he’ll be commissioned as an officer. He will serve in either the Army or National Guard for at least eight years. 

Newman was raised in an Army family, so he knows what he’s signing up for. His father works as a military police officer, and the family spent a total of eight years at Anchorage-area bases.


Newman graduated from high school in Gananoque, Ontario during one of his father’s assignments. He knew he wanted to return to Alaska for college.

“I enjoy Alaska and the beauty that Fairbanks has to offer,” he said. “I’m an outdoor person, so I enjoy the outdoor opportunities.”

The petroleum engineering department’s quality and small size also drew him.

“It’s much easier to learn and interact with your professors and understand the content and concepts,” he said. “But then the quality of the professors we have are also top notch. They’re experts in their degree fields, and they make sure that they explain their topics well.”

“And then [there are] the opportunities with the North Slope and BP and ConocoPhillips here in the state,” he said. “Alaska, being a mineral resource state, is a unique place.”

Newman said his internship at Latshaw Drilling grew out of the company founder’s connection with UAF. 

“He’s come to give us lectures, technical lectures on his company, what they do and how they operate,” Newman said. The company recruits at UAF each spring. 

Newman is also busy recruiting — within his family.

“My younger brother wants a school where he can go year-round in shorts. Well, that’s not quite my school,” Newman said. “My middle brother, he’s convinced, because he just says he does not want a school where it’s hot. Perfect, come to UAF.”