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2019 Scholarship Recipients

We are pleased to introduce the students selected to receive an OCFDA scholarship this year. OCFDA is committed to helping mortuary science students succeed.

We would like to thank our Scholarship Committee: Angela Nishida, Charlie Thorson, John Raggett, Lesley Trejo, Kimberly Worl and our Cypress College liaison Lori Collins.



AMANDA YEKEL
2nd Semester, Gradation Date May 2020

What area of study has been your favorite so far and why?
At this point of my Funeral Service education, my favorite field of study has been Funeral Services and Ceremonies. Being well rounded and knowledgeable in religious funeral traditions is important in order to be a successful funeral practitioner. With the industry growing and changing rapidly, it is our responsibility to be aware of traditional services as well as understand how to accommodate progressive and secular services.

What are you looking forward to most in the next year?
In the next year of my education and career, I look most forward to making scholarly and professional connections with people and organizations I will be involved with for the rest of my life. This is the very beginning of my journey and I am excited for all that is to come.

If you are currently in the industry or completing your student practicums at a funeral home, which funeral home are you working with?
I am currently employed by Stricklin-Snively Mortuary in Long Beach, California. I am one of only two licensed crematory operators at this facility where we excel at witness cremation services for the local Cambodian community.

When you have free time from work and studies, what do you enjoy doing?
When I am not studying funeral service or working, I love to spend time outside, hiking, camping, reading and appreciating the opportunity to be in such a beautiful state. I arrived here from New Jersey about three years ago and every day I see something new here.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our members?
I want to thank the members of the Orange County Funeral Directors Association for offering the new generation of funeral practitioners this award and their support. Our industry is vital and cohesion is necessary. I look forward to serving the industry and many, many families in the future.



SAMANTHA JELLETICH
2nd Semester, Graduation Date May 2020

What area of study has been your favorite so far and why?
My favorite area of studies at the Cypress Mortuary program is chemical concepts relating to the preparations, presentation, and sanitation of human remains; also, religious and ceremonial studies. Outside of school, I enjoy the continuous learning about the dynamics and adaptions of funeral personnel.

What are you looking forward to most in the next year?
I am looking forward to connecting and experiencing more of the funeral industry. The variety of challenges, situations, interactions, and personalities is refreshing and exciting.

If you are currently in the industry or completing your student practicums at a funeral home, which funeral home are you working with?
I am completing my independent study credits at Melrose Abbey Memorial Park and Mortuary. The staff made my first clinical journey overwhelmingly educational, positive, supportive, and helpful. I could not be more appreciative for their acceptance and unlimited patience.

When you have free time from work and studies, what do you enjoy doing?
If I had free time from work and studies, I would enjoy sleep.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our members?
I want to share my gratitude to the members of the Orange County Funeral Directors Association. I am very fortunate and grateful to be receiving this grant; also look forward to all I have to learn from this fantastic community of people.



ANDRIANA TRISTAN
2nd Semester, Graduation Date May 2020

What area of study has been your favorite so far and why?
Science and biology have always been an area of interest to me, so I thoroughly enjoyed our Funeral Chemistry and Pathology course last fall, which gave a detailed look into the anatomy of funeral service from the science perspective.

What are you looking forward to most in the next year?
Over the summer, we will be taking a Thanatology course, which I am very excited about, but I am mostly looking forward to beginning our embalming lab. I am also looking forward to beginning my career in the funeral industry.

If you are currently in the industry or completing your student practicums at a funeral home, which funeral home are you working with?
I am currently completing my Spring and Summer semester practicum with White's Funeral Home in Bellflower.

When you have free time from work and studies, what do you enjoy doing?
I have always been an avid bookworm of both fiction and non-fiction, and although I usually end up back at something mortuary science related, I still try to find time to sit down with a book when I have a moment to myself. I also make time to go running; I have a goal by the end of the year to participate in a half marathon.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our members?
I would love to extend a genuine thanks to the Association for the opportunity to sit down and discuss my passion for funeral service, and explain how fortunate I am for the support they are offering in my studies. I have been incredibly blessed this past year to begin my journey at Cypress and to meet the funeral directors at White's, as it has been wonderful to surround myself with others who share my passion after a long journey leading up to this point. Many thanks!


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