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Supporting students in gerontology program

February 15, 2013

Meeting the health care needs of aging baby boomers is a top concern for our country and our community. CSU's College of Applied Human Sciences is partnering with Columbine Health Systems to address this need by preparing students for careers in gerontology.

By investing in students through graduate and undergraduate scholarships, funding the gerontology interdisciplinary minor in Human Development and Family Studies, and providing experiential learning through internships, Columbine Health Systems is helping to promote the success of the next generation of health care providers – and in turn, helping support seniors who will benefit from their expertise.

Educating the next generation

J. Robert Wilson, owner of Columbine Health Systems, has supported CSU since 1985. “Our intentions are very simple,” Wilson says. “We want to educate the next generation to care for the elderly”.

CSU human development and family studies graduate Yvonne Myers (’82) has worked for Columbine since 1990, where she has helped grow Columbine Health Systems, based in Fort Collins and Loveland, from three businesses to 22 and from 300 employees to more than 1,450. In 2003, she became health systems director for the entire Columbine Health Systems network.

Myers has generously invested her time with numerous community organizations, including coordinator of the Northern Front Range Health Care Shortage Consortium as well as sits on the external advisory boards for both the University of Northern Colorado and Front Range Community College nursing programs. Her community service has earned her several awards, including the 2005 College of Applied Human Sciences Honor Alumna Award.

She has lent her time and experiences as an instructor of undergraduate courses in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and has continued to support the students in this program by securing annual contributions from Columbine Health Systems, which fund scholarships for students interested in the fields of gerontology and aging, and a provide a direct investment in the gerontology interdisciplinary minor.

This program helps students to develop an understanding of the aging process, including the biological, psychological and social aspects of adult development and aging, providing the tools, knowledge and experience to secure jobs as dietitians, therapists, social workers, advocates, or other careers related to working with the elderly.

“There is no greater joy for me then to be able to provide students opportunities to pursue their dreams, to grow a future workforce, and to give back to my alma mater, all in the same effort,” says Myers, who is pictured with 2012-2013 scholarship recipients.

Scholarship requirements

Students interested in the Columbine Health Systems scholarships must complete the online CSU scholarship application by March 1 in order to be considered for an undergraduate or graduate scholarship. In 2012-2013, four undergraduate students and two graduate students benefited from Columbine Health Systems scholarships.

In order to be considered, undergraduates must be enrolled in the gerontology interdisciplinary minor, retain a minimum 3.0 GPA, and show university or community service. Only students who are enrolled in the minor and who have taken or are enrolled to take AHS 201: Perspectives in Gerontology are eligible to apply.

Graduate students may be enrolled in any academic unit in the College of Applied Human Sciences, must also retain a 3.0 and show University or community service, and must be interested in a career in the area of aging. This could mean working with older adults directly or in a part of a discipline that directly affects the field of aging and older adults - from biomedical research to design and construction to supporting aging in place. Diverse students are encouraged to apply.

The Columbine Health Systems support of scholarships and the gerontology interdisciplinary minor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, as well as internships for students, empowers multiple students each year in their pursuit of careers working with seniors.

Contact: Gretchen Gerding
Phone: (970) 491-5182