Second Career Scholarship

The Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship Program is designed exclusively for individuals who aspire to work as a funeral director as a second (or third or more!) career, a role that is traditionally filled by professionals whose families have owned and operated funeral firms for decades.

Each scholarship is worth $1,500, with up to four scholarships awarded by the Trust each year; two in December and two in June. Applications will be reviewed by the Educational Trust Board and voted on, with a majority approval vote required.

Second Career Student

Funded by Donations

These scholarships are funded by donations and mean a lot to the students. This unsolicited thank you note shows how we are making the difference every year, thanks to our generous gifters.

Thank you again for all you have done for me. Personally, the experience in receiving this award has been more than uplifting, and I will never forget your kindness in sharing it with all involved in the funeral industry. It is so appreciated! You have done an amazing thing for me in going forward with my career.”

This Year’s Scholarship Recipients

View all past winners and read their stories at the bottom of this page.

My goal is to make families feel relief, support and comfort

Karoline Davidson Second Career Scholarship Winner

DEERFIELD, ILL. — January 4, 2017— Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust has announced three new recipients of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 each. The winners are Brandy Carter of Garden City, MI; Michael Hegg of Indianapolis, IN and Karoline Davidson of Chandler, AZ. This scholarship was created to meet the educational… Read more “My goal is to make families feel relief, support and comfort”

Karoline Davidson

I am very honored to be a recipient

Michael Hegg, Second Career Scholarship Winner

DEERFIELD, ILL. — January 4, 2017— Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust has announced three new recipients of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 each. The winners are Brandy Carter of Garden City, MI; Michael Hegg of Indianapolis, IN and Karoline Davidson of Chandler, AZ. This scholarship was created to meet the educational… Read more “I am very honored to be a recipient”

Michael Hegg

I hope to inspire other students to pursue this profession

Brandy Carter, Second Career Scholarship Winner

DEERFIELD, ILL. — January 4, 2017— Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust has announced three new recipients of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 each. The winners are Brandy Carter of Garden City, MI; Michael Hegg of Indianapolis, IN and Karoline Davidson of Chandler, AZ. This scholarship was created to meet the educational… Read more “I hope to inspire other students to pursue this profession”

Brandy Carter

Eligibility

Any individual currently enrolled full-time in a mortuary science program at an accredited school in North America who is not related to an owner of a funeral firm currently in operation is eligible to apply. Previous full-time working experience in an unrelated field is required, along with details on tuition owed and a demonstration of genuine financial need.

How to Apply

Applicants must submit a completed application on or before December 1 or May 30 each year.

Applicants may apply on-line, via email, or by mailing an application. A two-page professional application essay along with the required documentation is required for all applications.

Application Essay

The application essay and required documentation must address the following:

  1. School Details. Which accredited school are you attending and when is your anticipated graduation date? Attach an official Transcript or original signed letter from the Program Director or Registrar verifying your current full-time enrollment in the Mortuary Science program, your courses and your cumulative GPA.
  2. Tuition Costs. Please include proof of your total tuition costs, specific details on what you owe and your financial need for the scholarship. Are you receiving any other financial assistance? If so, please fully explain.
  3. Funeral Home Involvement. Are you currently employed or involved in any way with an independently owned funeral home? Please share with us the name of the firm, point of contact details including name, phone and email, the full extent of your involvement and whether you expect it to continue upon completing school.
  4. Previous Career. What specifically was your previous career and over what timeframe did you work in it? Tell us about your desire to work in independent funeral service as a new career choice. What led you to make this switch?
  5. Future Plans. What are your future aspirations within independent funeral service?
  6. Letters of Recommendation. Include at least two (2) letters of recommendation. One from a faculty member of the mortuary science program and the other from an owner of an independent funeral home or current or previous employer.

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Download the Application

Download the Second-Career Scholarship Application and send it, along with your documentation by email or U.S. Mail.

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Scholarship Recipients

My goal is to make families feel relief, support and comfort

Karoline Davidson Second Career Scholarship Winner

DEERFIELD, ILL. — January 4, 2017— Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust has announced three new recipients of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 each. The winners are Brandy Carter of Garden City, MI; Michael Hegg of Indianapolis, IN and Karoline Davidson of Chandler, AZ. This scholarship was created to meet the educational… Read more “My goal is to make families feel relief, support and comfort”

Karoline Davidson

I am very honored to be a recipient

Michael Hegg, Second Career Scholarship Winner

DEERFIELD, ILL. — January 4, 2017— Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust has announced three new recipients of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 each. The winners are Brandy Carter of Garden City, MI; Michael Hegg of Indianapolis, IN and Karoline Davidson of Chandler, AZ. This scholarship was created to meet the educational… Read more “I am very honored to be a recipient”

Michael Hegg

I hope to inspire other students to pursue this profession

Brandy Carter, Second Career Scholarship Winner

DEERFIELD, ILL. — January 4, 2017— Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust has announced three new recipients of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 each. The winners are Brandy Carter of Garden City, MI; Michael Hegg of Indianapolis, IN and Karoline Davidson of Chandler, AZ. This scholarship was created to meet the educational… Read more “I hope to inspire other students to pursue this profession”

Brandy Carter

I knew that I had to help people, in this way, every day of my life

DEERFIELD, ILL. — July 6, 2016 — Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust has announced two new recipients of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 each. The winners are Cecelia Barbara Shaffer of Winston-Salem, NC and Justin D. Miller of Monroe, MI. The scholarship was created to meet the educational needs of the… Read more “I knew that I had to help people, in this way, every day of my life”

Justin D. Miller

My plan is to transition into funeral service so I can provide for my family

Cecilia Barabara Shaffer

DEERFIELD, ILL. — July 6, 2016 — Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust has announced two new recipients of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 each. The winners are Cecelia Barbara Shaffer of Winston-Salem, NC and Justin D. Miller of Monroe, MI. The scholarship was created to meet the educational needs of the… Read more “My plan is to transition into funeral service so I can provide for my family”

Cecilia Barbara Shaffer

Work is About Those Whom I Will Serve

James (Kevin) Veal of Queen Creek, AZ is a January 2016 recipient of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500. Veal attends Mesa Community College’s Mortuary Science Program in Mesa, AZ and is scheduled to graduate in May 2016. James (Kevin) Veal wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He just knew he needed… Read more “Work is About Those Whom I Will Serve”

James (Kevin) Veal

My Dream is My Own Funeral Home

Vandra Michele Fields of New Orleans, LA is a January 2016 recipient of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500. Fields is enrolled in the Funeral Services Education Program at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, LA and is scheduled to graduate in May 2016. Fields’ first job was working as an administrative assistant… Read more “My Dream is My Own Funeral Home”

Vandra Michele Fields

I Hope to Provide Comfort and Compassion

Maria Torres of Lemont, IL is a June 2015 recipient of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500. Maria attends Worsham College of Mortuary Sciences in Wheeling, IL and is expected to graduate in March 2016. She has been chosen by the Trust as the second of five Donald W. Tetrick Second-Career Scholarship Award… Read more “I Hope to Provide Comfort and Compassion”

Maria Torres

Education is the Edge I Need to Reach my Goals

Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust selected Stacy Meeks of Aurora IL as a recipient of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500. Stacy attends Worsham College of Mortuary Sciences in Wheeling, Ill. Meeks will graduate in September 2015. She has been a Customer Service Representative at AT&T for 17 years and is heavily… Read more “Education is the Edge I Need to Reach my Goals”

Stacy Meeks

This Scholarship Validates my Hard Work

Elle Hiligenstein

Elva “Elle” Heiligenstein of Bellevillle, IL was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on January 12, 2015. $1,500 was paid toward her funeral service education. Heiligenstein has been chosen by the Trust as the first of five Donald W. Tetrick Second Career Scholarship Award recipients to be awarded over the next… Read more “This Scholarship Validates my Hard Work”

Elva “Elle” Heiligenstein

Someone Cares Enough to Invest in my Dream

Sheila Wilmore-Butler

Sheila Wilmore-Butler of Bonaire, GA was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on January 12, 2015. $1,500 was paid toward her funeral service education. Wilmore-Butler is currently enrolled in the Funeral Service program at Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, Ga. She has been in the medical field for 26 years and… Read more “Someone Cares Enough to Invest in my Dream”

Sheila Wilmore-Butler

This Reinforces I’m Headed in the Right Direction

Chris Allen 2014 Second Career Scholarship Winner

Chris Allen of Portland, OR was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on July 8, 2014. $1,500 was paid toward his funeral service education. Allen is a full-time student enrolled in the Funeral Service Education Program at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, OR. He is expected to graduate in 2015.… Read more “This Reinforces I’m Headed in the Right Direction”

Chris Allen

It Inspires Me to Be a Servant to our Society

Jayanna Weaver Second Career Scholoarship Winner

Jayanna Weaver of Carbondale, IL was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on July 8, 2014. $1,500 was paid toward her studies in the Mortuary Science and Funeral Programat Southern Illinois University. Formerly a nursing student, Weaver spent four years providing private in-home care for elderly and disabled patients, sparking her… Read more “It Inspires Me to Be a Servant to our Society”

Jayanna Weaver

To be Chosen is a Great Honor

James Barnhart - Second Career Scholarship Winner

James Barnhart of Okeechobee, FL was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on January 21, 2014. $1,500 was paid toward his funeral service education. Barnhart is expected to graduate in December from Miami Dade College’s Funeral Service Education Program in Miami. Formerly a licensed insurance agent who began working in preneed… Read more “To be Chosen is a Great Honor”

James Barnhart

I Have a Unique Opportunity to Impact People

Kelsey Byers - Second Career Scholarship Winner

Kelsey Beyers of Indianapolis, IN was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on January 21, 2014. $1,500 was paid toward her funeral service education. Kelsey will complete her studies in August at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis. Byers’ profound firsthand experience—first with a close friend who died tragically in an… Read more “I Have a Unique Opportunity to Impact People”

Kelsey Beyers

The Scholarship Gives People a Fighting Chance

Timothy Roberts - second career scholarship winner

Timothy Roberts, a new father from Southgate, MI, was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on January 21, 2014. $1,500 was paid toward his funeral service education. Roberts expects to graduate from Wayne State University’s Mortuary Science Program in Detroit in 2014. Roberts previously worked in merchandising and sales for two… Read more “The Scholarship Gives People a Fighting Chance”

Timothy Roberts

It will Help my Passion of Comforting

Ted Edwards Scholarship Winner

Ted Edwards of Edmond, OK was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on August 5, 2013. $1,500 was paid toward his funeral service education. Edwards is transitioning from a 22-year career in ministry into funeral service. Edwards will return in the fall as sophomore at the University of Central Oklahoma, where… Read more “It will Help my Passion of Comforting”

Ted Edwards

Another Window of Opportunity has Opened

Lisa Valentine of Chicago, IL was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on January 9, 2013. $1,500 was paid toward her funeral service education. Valentine is expected to graduate in September 2013 from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, IL. The wife of a U.S. Navy veteran who is also… Read more “Another Window of Opportunity has Opened”

Lisa Valentine

Caring for a Family is the Most Necessary

Bobby Cook Scholarship Winner

Bobby Cook of Portland, TN was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on January 9, 2013. $1,500 was paid toward his funeral service education. Cook attends John A. Gupton College in Nashville, where he is expected to graduate in December of this year. After spending more than 20 years in the… Read more “Caring for a Family is the Most Necessary”

Bobby Cook

I Have Something Special to Offer the Industry

Sheila Brisendine of Dallas, TX was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on July 30, 2012. $1,500 was paid toward her studie. Brisendine attends Dallas Institute of Funeral Service, where she will graduate with her Associates in Applied Science in November of this year. It is through her own experience with… Read more “I Have Something Special to Offer the Industry”

Sheila Brisendine

My Goal Is to Become a Funeral Director

Karl Wilson Sr. of Chicago, IL was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on July 30, 2012. $1,500 was paid toward his funeral service education. Wilson is expected to graduate in September 2012 from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, IL. As a pastor, mortuary chaplain, and former hospice chaplain,… Read more “My Goal Is to Become a Funeral Director”

Karl Wilson Sr.

Truly Feel Called to… the Service of the Bereaved

Scott Bowler of Mesa, AZ was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on January 14, 2012. $1,500 was paid toward his studies in the Mortuary Science Program at Mesa Community College. Bowler is a former woodworker and general contractor originally from St. George, Utah. After a twenty year career, he made… Read more “Truly Feel Called to… the Service of the Bereaved”

Scott Bowler

I Would Like to Manage a Funeral Home

Brianna Kay Vujovich of Woodbury, MN was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on January 14, 2012. $1,500 was paid toward her funeral service education. Vujovich is attending the University of Minnesota, where she is expected to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Mortuary Science in May of 2012. She… Read more “I Would Like to Manage a Funeral Home”

Brianna Kay Vujovich

Have Been Able to Further My Education

Michael Smith of White Pigeon, MI was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on August 10, 2011. $1,500 was paid toward his funeral service education. Smith, who began studying to become a funeral director in 2009, is currently attending Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, IL. Having been personally affected… Read more “Have Been Able to Further My Education”

Michael Smith

I Am So Appreciative and Grateful

Cynthia Wells of Viola, AR was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on August 10, 2011. $1,500 was paid toward her funeral service education. Wells, a widowed mother of three, will be entering her final semester in the Funeral Science Program at ASU Mountain Home in Mountain Home, AR. She recently… Read more “I Am So Appreciative and Grateful”

Cynthia Wells

Envisioned Myself Helping People in Need of Kindness

Donald Bouchard of Chester, CT was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on March 30, 2011. $1,500 was paid toward his studies in the Mortuary Science Program at Mount Ida College in Newton, MA, where he will graduate in the spring. Bouchard, a 59-year-old former business owner, has had a lifelong… Read more “Envisioned Myself Helping People in Need of Kindness”

Donald Bouchard

Lifelong Desire… Becoming a Funeral Director

Robert Bogue of Frankfort, IN was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s first ever Second-Career Scholarship on September 2, 2010. $1,500 was paid toward his studies in the Funeral Service Education Program at Vincennes University. Bogue, who is currently employed full-time as a Journeyman Lineman at Frankfort Light and Power, is also putting… Read more “Lifelong Desire… Becoming a Funeral Director”

Robert Bogue

Grateful to the Trust for This Award

John Gawronski of Norwich, NY was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on November 22, 2010. $1,500 was paid toward his Mortuary Science coursework at American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service (AAMI) in New York, NY. The scholarship was the second to be awarded since the program’s inception. The first… Read more “Grateful to the Trust for This Award”

John Gawronski