Denver Urban Semester

The Denver Urban Semester (DUS) is a reflective, visionary leadership development program. Offered through Northwestern College, it provides a cross-cultural experience in the heart of the city, giving you the opportunity to develop a mature understanding of God's unique vocational direction for your life.

DUS is designed to provide a three-pronged experience of classroom instruction, living in community, and internships. During your semester in Denver, you'll spend 24 to 40 hours per week at a student teaching, practicum or internship site. You'll also take one to three classes for a total of 12 to 18 credits.

The Denver Urban Semester is offered during the fall and spring semesters.

Fall semester application deadlines:
NWC students: Feb. 10
Non-NWC students: May 1

Spring semester application deadlines:
NWC students: Feb. 10
Non-NWC students: Oct. 1

Denver skylineDenver Urban Semester students live, work and study in a city that sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains and provides multiple urban and outdoor opportunities. Denver is known as the Mile High City because of its elevation above sea level.

More than 2.8 million people reside in the Denver metro area, which is host to 7 professional sports teams, museums, concerts, amusement parks and a zoo. You'll be immersed in numerous cultural activities and within walking distance of restaurants, coffee shops, parks and community festivals that provide diversity and a multicultural experiences.

Founded in 2007, the Denver Urban Semester partners with more than 50 schools, nonprofits, government agencies and faith-based organizations in Denver that focus on at-risk and low-income communities and underserved multicultural populations.

Shushan Chavelas Haley Andreades Vermeer   
Program Director
Haley holds a Master of Divinity degree from Emory University's Candler School of Theology and an undergraduate degree in religious studies from Vanderbilt University. Before directing DUS, she worked among houseless and street-connected youth and young adults with Dry Bones Denver, where she grew passionate about creating space for people to learn how to engage in the community in dignifying ways while also taking care of themselves. Haley is ordained in the United Methodist Church and enjoys hiking, camping and climbing with friends and family.


Greg Fuchs Greg Fuchs
Logistics Coordinator
Greg has a master’s degree from Denver Seminary and has served as the site director for the Denver Urban Semester for more than 10 years. He formerly was a student development leader for 15 years while working as a youth pastor, Young Life director, high school chaplain and vocational coach. An avid hiker and tennis player, Greg enjoys attending city neighborhood festivals and spending time and traveling with his three adult sons.


Beth Sundberg Beth Sundberg 
Student Teacher Adviser
Beth has an undergraduate degree from the University of Puget Sound and a master’s degree in instruction and curriculum with an emphasis in reading from the University of Colorado. She taught high school in Japan, as well as first and second grade. Most recently she was the program director for Book Trust, a national literacy nonprofit. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis, hiking and skiing with her family in Colorado, and traveling the world.


Tamara Smith Tamara Smith 
Social Work Instructor and Adviser 
A graduate of Northwestern College, Tamara earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Minnesota, specializing in child welfare. She is also a DUS alum and did her internship at the African Community Center, where she was inspired to pursue a career in social work. Tamara is a lead social caseworker for the Denver Department of Human Services. She spends weekends outdoors with her husband and dog, camping, hiking and fly fishing.


Tamara Smith Kelcie Scarlett  
Social Work Field Supervisor 
Kelcie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis, where she specialized in health. A Northwestern College graduate, she is also a Denver Urban Semester alum who completed her internship at Women’s Bean Project. When not serving as a pediatric medical social worker, she enjoys working out, hiking, spending time with family and friends, and watching television.


Hannah Hess Hannah Hess 
Co-Resident Director
Hannah participated in the Denver Urban Semester program in the fall of 2020 as a student teacher. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from Hope College. While at Hope, she co-led a chapter of ASCD (a professional teacher organization) and spent two of her summers working at a Christian camp in northern Michigan. Hannah enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, quality time with friends, and finding the best smoothie spots in town.


Sarah Te Grotenhuis Sarah Te Grotenhuis 
Co-Resident Director
Sarah is a Denver Urban Semester alum with a bachelor’s degree in business management and a minor in Christian community development from Northwestern College. She served as a resident assistant and discipleship group leader during her years at Northwestern. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys thrifting, trying new coffee shops, and playing board and card games with friends and family.


The Denver Urban Semester (DUS) is designed to provide a three-pronged experience of classroom instruction, living in community and internships. Students spend 24 to 40 hours per week at a student teaching/practicum/internship site and take 1 to 3 classes for a total of 12-18 credits. (GEN335)

The DUS program offers courses to satisfy student teaching, social work practicum, and internship requirements. Courses offered are as follows:

  • Urban Cross-Cultural Integration Seminar (2 & 3 credit options)
  • Urban Integration Senior Seminar* (4 credits)
  • Student Teaching (4-14 credits)
  • Student Teaching Seminar (1 credit)
  • Social Work Practicum (10 credits)
  • Social Work Professional Seminar* (3 credits)
  • Internship (2-10 credits)

Note:
-DUS is offered every fall and spring term and four of the course credits can be used towards completing the Mission and Justice minor (see under listing of Minors).
-Letter grades are required if requested by the student’s home institution.

*Urban Integration Senior Seminar does not fulfill the Senior Seminar requirement at Northwestern College. Northwestern College social work majors will complete Social Work Professional Seminar, which is their Senior Seminar course.

As part of the Denver Urban Semester, you’ll be placed in an internship with an urban ministry, school or nonprofit that serves Denver’s marginalized populations—in fields such as these:

DUS internship (classroom)

  • Christian leadership/religious studies
  • Communications
  • Education (student teaching)
  • Entrepreneurial leadership
  • Human services
  • Nonprofit management
  • Pre-law and criminal justice
  • Psychology and sociology
  • Social work
  • Spanish interpretation
  • Business and economics

As part of the Denver Urban Semester, you’ll live in community, learning alongside other students in the program. Housing is in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, located in the heart of downtown Denver. The program is also able to accommodate married couples. You'll be responsible for purchasing your own food and preparing your own meals.

The Denver Urban Semester covers the cost of transportation to your internship site. You'll receive a monthly RTD bus and light rail card for use during the semester. If you fly to Denver, you can take the A line from the Denver International Airport (DIA) into Denver, and we'll provide a shuttle from the light rail station to your Denver Urban Semester housing. If you choose to drive, be aware there are only five parking spots for both Denver Urban Semester houses. City street parking is also available. Program participants are encouraged to use RTD to travel to one's internship and while engaging with and living in downtown Denver.

Denver Urban Semester skiingDenver is a city of 77 neighborhoods that sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains and provides multiple urban and outdoor opportunities. You’ll be immersed in numerous cultural activities and within walking distance of restaurants, coffee shops, parks and community festivals that provide diversity and a multicultural experience. Denver Urban Semester students are provided with $200 for the semester for weekly cross-cultural engagement events.

For Northwestern students, the program fee for the Denver Urban Semester is the same as Northwestern's tuition and housing costs for a semester (excluding the cost of the college's meal plan). Program costs for students from other schools may differ, depending on the institution's policies. Contact your global education or off-campus studies program office for more information.

Included in what you pay for the Denver Urban Semester is tuition for 12 to 16 credits (course work and internships), housing, and program travel and events. While in Denver, you will be expected to pay for your food (approximately $250 per month) and entertainment.

All applicable Northwestern College financial aid applies for Northwestern College students. Contact the Northwestern's financial aid office for more information. Non-Northwestern College students should contact their own college’s financial aid office to find out if financial aid can apply toward the Denver Urban Semester.

Northwestern's Denver Urban Semester is open to students at any college or university who have completed two semesters of college work and achieved a minimum GPA of 2.5.

The Denver Urban Semester application process consists of the following:

  • The Global Education Center study abroad program online application
  • Your résumé outlining your objective, education, relevant coursework, experience, honors and awards
  • 3 reference letters (one academic, one job-related, and one personal)
  • An unofficial transcript (for NWC students, provided automatically to the Global Education Center upon the submission of your application)

Non-NWC students must fill out a guest application to Northwestern and be accepted before applying to the Denver Urban Semester program.

Fall semester application deadlines:
NWC students: Feb. 10
Non-NWC students: May 1

Spring semester application deadlines:
NWC students: Feb. 10
Non-NWC students: Oct. 1

Applications won't be considered complete until ALL sections of the online application are completed and all other required documents and reference/recommendation letters are submitted.

You should review your answers carefully to ensure the accuracy of your application. You can't edit your application once it is submitted.

Global Education Center
global@nwciowa.edu
712-707-7225

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