August 2014 – Sarah Stopyra is fulfilling a lifelong dream by teaching and bringing her passion for the funeral service field to Mount Ida 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 funeral service 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.

As part of their ongoing commitment to community service and engagement, Mount Ida Dental Hygiene students volunteered at the Massachusetts Dental Hygienists’ Association (MDHA) annual meeting and Walk for Oral Cancer this fall. Mount Ida was the only school to volunteer at the annual meeting and attend professional lectures with 100% attendance from both the first and second year classes. In addition, two second year students were honored at the state level for their leadership, Marilyn Cooper and Nicole Cantello.


On second day of the conference, Dental Hygiene student Holly Arcadipane was elected as Membership Chair, becoming the first Mount Ida student to hold a MDHA state office. After the success of the conference, Mount Ida students went on to participate in the Walk for Oral Cancer. Mount Ida was the only dental hygiene school present, and under Professor Karin Torrisi’s guidance, students performed oral cancer screenings and referrals. In addition, Mount Ida was the top fundraiser at the event and was awarded an oral cancer screening device.

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In November, the Mount Ida Dental Hygiene Program will host “Give Kids a Smile.” In coordination with the Massachusetts Dental Association and community dentists, our dental hygiene students will provide free preventive care to underprivileged children at the Dental Education Center & Community Dental Clinic. For more information about the Mount Ida College Dental Hygiene Program, please visit the program homepage here.

In 2014, students in Mount Ida’s Survey of Graphic Design course traveled to London, a trendsetting city in the world of design, to study firsthand the design landmarks, museums and historic sites they studied in class before experiencing the real thing. The fourteen design students stayed in the heart of London, steps away from the British Museum, spending their days touring the city’s treasured historic landmarks while taking in the abundance of cutting-edge design unique to London today.


Students toured London’s world class museums including the Victoria & Albert Museum of Art and Design, the ICA, and the Tate Modern where they viewedMatisse’s Cut-Outs exhibit. They climbed to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and visited the nearby Saint Bride Library to explore their collection of three centuries of books and exhibits devoted to typography, graphic design and printing techniques. The students got a taste of English culture when they attended a traditional afternoon tea at the British Museum in Bloomsbury.


For fun, they took a double decker bus tour, rode the London Eye ferris wheel, and enjoyed a West End Production of “Wicked.” On a walking tour, they explored ParliamentBuckingham Palace, and the shops of Oxford Street. On their final day in London, they visited You Can Now (YCN), an innovative design firm in London’s new design district, and dined on Brick Lane, the epicenter of London’s vibrant Indian and Pakistani food scene.

“My favorite part of the trip was visiting London’s design district and touring YCN. The staff at YCN showed us the ins and outs of what they do and their products. As a graphic design student, it was both inspiring and informative,” said junior Alex Battaglia.


As part of the class, each student created a design journal detailing their experience abroad. Senior Halle Rasco’s journal can be viewed here. Summarizing her time in London Rasco notes “I loved how gorgeous all the design was. It really served as inspiration for me going into my senior year. I think the most valuable part of the trip was how close we all became in the process of preparing and actually going there together. We call ourselves the graphic design family now because we are all such good friends and this trip really is an integral part of our relationship!”


Many students in the course received travel scholarships from Santander Bank, N.A., through its Santander Universities division. Mount Ida’s Study abroad options for 2015 include spring faculty-led travel programs, internships abroad, semester abroad at a host university, and summer experiential learning. For more information about international travel programs at Mount Ida, please visit our Center for Global Connection’s webpage.