Social Work student changes path to follow his passion helping others

Man smiling
Chase Williams

Chase Williams decided to pursue a career in social work and apply to Colorado State University in 2018. His wife had spent some time in Fort Collins as a child, and their mutual love of camping and hiking drew them to the Front Range of Colorado.

“We made the jump,” said Williams, “and it has been a rewarding journey since then.”

A sense of safety

Williams will soon graduate with his Master of Social Work. He has been working with the Fort Collins Homeless Coalition for the last three semesters. Before his arrival at CSU, he was working as a paramedic at a major emergency department in Columbus, Ohio, with plans to go into community paramedicine and then nursing. However, he felt called to make a difference in another way.

“Working in emergency medicine started to feel like we were always acting in a reactionary way and that quickly got exhausting,” explained Williams. “As I met more social workers and saw the scope of their utility I started looking into that path. I got more excited about the way social workers were able to get people into a position where they felt a sense of safety and even happiness.”

Williams found that social workers were the silent heroes in emergency medicine that made sure people were housed, fed, and kept safe after the medical staff treated their physical injuries and ailments.

Working full time

Williams has worked full time as a paramedic throughout his time in the MSW program. Recently, Williams stepped back from his full-time job to make sure he could complete his field placement hours in time for graduation. Throughout his education, Williams has seen how incredible the professors in the department can be when working for the success of their students.

“It’s clear that they care about our success and try to fine tune their classes and assignments to align with individual interests and career aspirations,” said Williams, sending out thanks and well wishes to many of his professors from the last two years.

Starting a new journey

Williams and his wife are moving to Denver in the next month and with the ultimate goal of working with a focus on criminal justice reform.

When he first started at CSU, Williams was reluctant to seek personal advice or career advice from professors. However, it became clear to him pretty quickly that the professors care about their students.

“I would suggest that you open dialogues with the professors early on to help direct your education in a way that suits your aspirations. Although they maintain a curriculum that meets all the needs of the department, they will also help you get an individual experience from each assignment and class,” said Williams.

The School of Social Work is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.