Jeremiah Scott stands by the University of Denver banner in the Durango Commons Building, which houses the DU Four Corners campus.

Jeremiah Scott stands by the University of Denver banner in the Durango Commons Building, which houses the DU Four Corners campus.

For Jeremiah Scott, earning both a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in social work in only five years means he not only saves time and money, it also means he can get on with reaching his career goal: Helping people, like how others helped him.

And now, a $30,000 scholarship has sealed his passage to that dream.

Scott is a participant in the DU/FLC Cooperative Undergraduate/Graduate Four Corners MSW Program, which lets FLC students interested in a career in social work earn their bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, Psychology or Sociology, and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work – all in just five years, and without even having to set foot on the DU campus.

Now in its tenth year, DU's Four Corners MSW Program has graduated nearly 100 students -- and almost half also hold undergraduate degrees from FLC. In 2008, DU and FLC worked together to compress what had been a six-year process into a five-year program that lets FLC students complete their senior year and the first year of their two-year DU MSW program simultaneously. Students can then finish their MSW work doing clinical field work and taking classes at the DU Four Corners Campus, in downtown Durango, through interactive TV, and via online and hybrid courses.

DU’s Graduate School of Social work is one of the best in the nation, ranked number 26 by U.S. News and World Report among the nation’s best MSW programs in 2012. Psychology Professor Beverly Chew says the partnership is a boon to FLC students. "It's great for launching students out to be really successful in their chosen professional fields. This is a phenomenal opportunity for them."

Scott, a senior Psychology major from Durango, is on track to earn his MSW in 2014. He says the DU/FLC MSW option appealed to him as an affordable, convenient pathway to his goal: to “excel in a helping profession.”

“I have firsthand experience of needing the help of others, and I want to focus my career on giving back,” says Scott, who overcame a 10-year struggle with alcohol addiction before returning to college at FLC at the age of 29. “This program is right here in Durango, which was perfect for me. If it wasn’t here, I couldn’t do it.”

And now Scott has earned a boost on that career path: He was recently awarded the Colorado Health Foundation Health Professions Scholarship, a $30,000, two-year grant to assist graduate students looking to practice health professions in rural communities. The award includes a two-year commitment to work in a rural or under-served community after completing the MSW program.

Since Scott works almost full-time as a counselor at a local nonprofit health center – a position he credits references from professors for helping him get – the scheduling of the MSW classes evenings and weekends is a great help. The scholarship, though, sealed the deal, he says. “If I hadn't gotten it, I still would have tried to find a way to do this program. But it would have been really, really hard.”

To learn how you can earn your Master of Social Work in just five years, contact Beverly Chew at 970-247-7512 or chew_b@fortlewis.edu, or visit FLC's Department of Psychology.