Sarah Stopyra is fulfilling a lifelong dream by teaching and bringing her passion for the funeral service field to college students. Serving as an adjunct faculty member in the 2013-2014 academic year, she quickly transitioned into a full-time instructor role for the 2014-2015 academic year. As a licensed funeral director and embalmer in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, she has been working in all facets of the profession for 12 years.
Stopyra lends her expertise to an array of courses, including pathology, restorative art, funeral service merchandising, and social foundations, which introduces incoming students to the sociology and history of the funeral service industry. Students in her courses receive a grounding in history while also looking towards the future of the profession. “The funeral service industry is evolving,” notes Stopyra. “It continues to be an occupation that is steeped in tradition, but with a slightly different perspective. The new perspective is positive and celebratory, allowing us to honor our loved ones in a way that’s more fitting to the current generation. As funeral service professionals, our job is to serve those who have lost loved ones, and the importance of honoring and remembering their lives has not changed.”
One of the things Stopyra enjoys most about Mount Ida’s Funeral Service Program is the way students from varying backgrounds support each other and help each other learn. “On the first day of class I like to tell the students, ‘Look around you, these are your colleagues. We are all here to learn and grow together.’” Funeral service brings together both students who already have a background in the field and those who do not. At Mount Ida, these two groups are able to come together and reinforce each other’s learning. For more information about Mount Ida’s Funeral Service and Funeral Home Management Programs, please visit our undergraduate majors page.