Name: Geoff Carlson ’13
Major: Funeral Home Management
Hometown: Falls Village, Connecticut

What factors influenced your decision to come to Mount Ida College?

The primary factor for choosing Mount Ida was my major, Funeral Home Management. The reputation of the program in the industry is exceptional, making it an easy decision when I was accepted. It is one of, if not, the most respected mortuary colleges in the country.

Why did you become a funeral home management major?

Being a funeral director was never one of my career dreams growing up. However, once I started working for Brian Kenny at The Kenny Funeral Homes Inc., in Sharon, Conn., that changed for me. At the time I worked there, I was also dating his daughter. Initially, I was simply trying to make a good impression. As time passed, I began to see how everyone in the community loved and respected him. After being under his wing, I found it impossible to imagine myself not in this profession.

What do you love most about our campus community?

Living on Mount Ida’s campus, I can honestly say that I love the sense of family here. Whether you commute or live on campus, you will love it! I know because before I pursued my bachelor’s degree in funeral home management, I earned my associate degree in funeral service here.

How have you gained experience in your major outside of the classroom?

Having already earned my associate degree, I passed the National Board Exam easily. After that, I completed my one year apprentice then passed my state board exam. I am now a licensed Funeral Director at Funk Funeral Home in Bristol, Conn.

Being in the business of death and dying, what is your take on the cycle of life?

Linda Ellis, I believe, said it best in the last two lines of her famous poem, The Dash: “What matters is how you live and love; and how you spend your dash.” She is referring to the dash on one’s tombstone between their birth date and date of death. What is important is how you live and love. Because we don’t ever know what day will be our last, it is important to say I love you and not stay angry at the people we care about for too long. That is part of the reason that I chose funeral service. I want to be there, to help one person, one family make the pain of losing a loved one a little bit easier; to help them heal a little bit faster.

It is no surprise that Terresa Shea ‘13 decided to become a funeral service major. The opportunity to provide healing, compassion and community outreach is what drew Shea to a mortuary science career. In high school, she instantly found her passion for helping families manage one of life’s most challenging and stressful events: the passing of a loved one.

A rewarding career

“My choice to become a funeral service major stemmed from a paper I wrote on cemeteries,” said Shea. “I had the opportunity to interview a funeral home and loved what they did. I instantly knew that this was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”

Shea’s discovery of the funeral service industry paved her way to Mount Ida College. As a result of her high school visit to Conley Funeral and Cremation Services, she found a part-time job. Through gaining hands-on experience, Shea knew that she wanted to attend a college close to her hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts, so she could work while obtaining her associate degree.

Becoming a funeral director

As a new Mustang alumna with memberships in Phi Theta Kappa and Phi Sigma Eta, Shea continues to work full-time at the funeral home. In addition, Shea is already making progress toward reaching director level status in her career. Once she passes her culminating National Board Examination, she’ll become a licensed funeral director and embalmer.

If you are considering the funeral service industry, Shea says you need to have two specific qualities: compassion and the ability to put in hard work.

“It’s important for funeral service professionals to make families feel at ease when they face difficult times in their lives. Life begins with love. Life flourishes with love. And even in death, life continues on with the love you instill in others,” concluded Shea.

Tyler Resende, a business administration major ’14, knew from an early age that he wanted a career in corporate law. Over the years, his gregarious personality and unwavering drive have brought him closer to this goal and earned him respect in the Mount Ida community. This summer, Resende, a rising senior, is heading to the Prudential Tower in Boston to intern with Ropes & Gray, one of the world’s most respected global law firms.

Rising to the top

Last semester, Resende learned of The Boston Lawyers Group Summer Internship Program from Career Services. Through taking law courses with Professor Gail Gabriel, Resende was inspired to apply for the internship with nearly a dozen other applicants from Boston-area colleges and universities. Even though the competition was fierce, Resende kept working toward his goal by completing the application.

“The candidate selection process was very nerve-racking,” said Resende. “After three weeks of waiting, I was sure that I did not get the spot. However, when I was at DECA’s International Career Development Conference in April, I received a call telling me that I had been chosen as a summer associate.”

Law school & beyond

This summer, Resende is working in both finance and corporate law. While he loves business, he also enjoys the art of persuasion and, ultimately, plans to apply to law school for a dual JD/MBA degree. As a summer associate, Resende is gaining experience in his field that will benefit him in his future career.

“My advice to all students is to apply to every internship opportunity that comes your way,” stated Resende. “Always look to your connections. In my case, Professor Gabriel helped me meet new industry professionals. She even went out of her way to set up a networking lunch with a corporate lawyer, and I thank her endlessly for her guidance.”