Growing up in the City of Malden, Teddy Louis-Jacques ‘11 never imagined that he’d one day have an influence on his local government or teen youth. But this criminal justice major has succeeded, and today he’s helping others do the same. Since graduation, he has worked with as a Constituent Services Representative in the Mayor’s Office and, currently, he is an Assistant Coordinator of the Malden Teen Enrichment Center (MTEC), providing a welcoming, safe environment for teen social interaction.

Becoming a Community Leader

“I’m heading in the right direction,” said Louis-Jacques. “Everything that I’ve ever wanted has come true. I’m working in my hometown for local government, with the youths of the city, and I’m a high school basketball coach. My dream job is to be the Mayor of the City of Malden. I have some ways to go, but I’ll make it happen.”

Louis-Jacques’ determination to achieve his dream job comes from surrounding himself with positive people and, most importantly, smiling every day. During his time at our college, he was a student of The Learning Circle (TLC), 2011 Class President, a basketball player, Student Government Association’s Treasurer and Senator, a Balfour Peer Leader, and a Resident Assistant. Because Louis-Jacques was actively involved in campus life, he developed leadership skills for the real-world.

Mustang Pride & Memories

As a recent graduate, Teddy Louis-Jacques is already singing the praises of former staff and faculty who mentored him in college. He names Deborah Hirsch, Addie Dare, Heidi McLore, Professor Tennant, and his basketball coaches for preparing him with the interdisciplinary skills for his future career in local government. From all his experiences, he is most grateful for learning about teamwork and trusting others, which is a big part of his job in engaging community youth.

“One of my proudest moments at Mount Ida was delivering my speech at graduation as Class President,” added Louis-Jacques. “It was such an honor to represent and lead the Class of 2011, and I am thankful for all of the people that contributed to my success in school.”

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.