Mortuary science kicks off semester with breakfast potluck

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Program plans a field trip to a funeral history museum in Houston.

By J. Carbajal

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

The faculty of the mortuary science program organized a breakfast potluck Jan. 26 to welcome students in the program.

This event is held every semester for freshmen to familiarize themselves with faculty and advanced students, Professor Mary Mena said Jan. 27.

Typically, advanced students in the program have classes on Mondays and Wednesdays while beginning students have classes Tuesdays and Thursdays. This breakfast mixer allows the two groups to mingle and gives the freshman an opportunity to talk with and possibly get advice from their sophomore-level peers, she said.

Tom Sherman and Chris Aguilar, local representatives from the Dodge Co., also attended.

The Dodge Co. is the “largest supplier and manufacturer of embalming chemical and cosmetics in the world,” according to the company website.

Faculty and staff provided their favorite dishes and door prizes were items such as tote bags with the college logo.

In addition to the breakfast, the program offers its own computer lab, schedules field trips and workshops and gives students chances to network with local professionals in funeral science.

For example, the mortuary science program plans a one-day trip March 31 to Houston to visit the National Museum of Funeral History, the Chung Mei Buddhist Temple and George H. Lewis and Sons Funeral Home.

Students also shadow local funeral directors, program coordinator Jose Luis Moreno said.

The mortuary science program is the only one of its kind in San Antonio.

The funeral science job market is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is based on an aging population in the United States.

The outlook is especially good for those with more than one license, such as funeral directing, embalming and crematory licenses. Students who complete an Associate of Applied Science in mortuary science at this college must take a state board exam.

This exam provides official licensing agencies an evaluation of applicants in the areas of expertise required in funeral science, according to the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards.

The efforts of the faculty did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Mortuary science freshman Amber Figueroa said starting college can be “a culture shock and it’s comforting to know we have (the) help” of good professors who work with their students.

Figueroa, who moved to San Antonio from New Mexico, said she is confident in her chance of succeeding in the program because of the resources provided.

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