Brookfield, Wis. – Bill Wappner, chair of the Funeral Service Foundation Board of Trustees, announced that the Foundation awarded this year’s first group of academic scholarship winners and Career Development Award recipients. The scholarships and awards are part of the Foundation ’45 Awards, which are designed to help funeral service professionals and students unlock their potential and take their careers to the next level.

In addition to the Career Development Awards and academic scholarships, the Foundation ’45 Awards also include NFDA’s Meet the Mentors program, and NFDA Professional Women’s Conference scholarships.

“The Foundation ’45 Awards are central our mission to support funeral service in building meaning relationships with the families and the communities it serves,” said Wappner. “The scholarships, awards and opportunities help funeral service professionals access a great education throughout their career.”

Since 1945, more than 6,000 funeral service professionals have benefitted from the Foundation’s involvement in academic and continuing education.

Academic Scholarship Recipients
Awarded twice a year, the Foundation offers up to 12 scholarships, ranging from $1,000-$2,500, to full- and part-time students pursuing a degree in mortuary science from ABFSE-accredited schools. Available scholarships include the Foundation ’45 Academic Scholarship (new this year); the Shipley Rose Buckner, Joseph E. Hagan and Dennis Schoepp Memorial Scholarships; and the Memorial Classic Scholarship. Scholarships are awarded based on essays and videos submitted by the applicants.

The current slate of scholarship recipients is:

  • Dennis Schoepp Memorial Scholarship: Mallory Jo Price, Batavia, Ohio (Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, Cincinnati)
  • Foundation ’45 Academic Scholarship: Rayna J. Brophy, Joliet, Ill. (Worsham College of Mortuary Science, Wheeling, Ill.)
  • Joseph E. Hagan Memorial Scholarship: Karoline Davidson, Chandler, Ariz. (Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Mesa, Ariz.)
  • Memorial Classic Scholarships: Rosemary Brinza, Countryside, Ill. (Worsham College of Mortuary Science, Wheeling, Ill.); Clyde Williams, Okolona, Miss. (East Mississippi Community College, Scooba, Miss.)
  • Shipley Rose Buckner Memorial Scholarship: Brittany Carrington, Dallas (Dallas Institute of Funeral Service, Dallas)

 “These six scholarship winners have strong records of achievement as evidenced by their thoughtful and focused submissions,” said Wappner. “They truly demonstrate a passion for the funeral service profession that sets them apart from other candidates.”

The Foundation will again accept academic scholarship applications from September 1-November 30. Those interested may apply online at

Career Development Award Recipients
New this year and available to all licensed funeral directors, Career Development Awards underwrite registration fees for a single National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) Cremation Certification, Arranger Training or Certified Preplanning Consultant training seminar of the recipient’s choosing. Information about the seminars is available on the NFDA website, Up to 60 awards are available; 20 names are drawn at-random three times per year.

“We’re pleased to announce the first-ever award recipients and look forward to helping even more licensed funeral directors from across the profession access these innovative training programs,” said Foundation Trustee and Fund Development Chair, Jay Dodds, who, together with fellow Foundation donors Barbara Mack and David Falconer, drew the first 20 names. “Enthusiastic donor support has allowed us to expand our capacity to serve funeral service through our Career Development Awards, and that enthusiasm carried through in the selection process. We were honored to play a role in helping to fuel the careers of funeral service professionals.”  

The 20 first-ever Career Development Award recipients are:

  • Craig Buysse, Alexandria, Minn.
  • Moshe Goldsman, Northridge, Calif.
  • Crystal Gonzales, East Meadow, N.Y.
  • Kevin Hasson, New Orleans, La.
  • Dustin Hughes, Utica, Mich.
  • Christopher Keyes, Decatur, Mich.
  • Jenna Leisner, Gladstone, Mich.
  • Joseph Marsaglia, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Mark Mier, Dubuque, Iowa
  • Douglas Nohava, Garretson, S.D.
  • Glen Novack, Somerset, Wis.
  • Alex Rydell, Fargo, N.D.
  • Kurt Sammons, Johnstown, Ohio
  • Craig Serfozo, Middlebury, Vt.
  • Carla Sims, Athens, Ala.
  • Sarah Stopyra, Leominster, Mass.
  • Linda Thrasher, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Arvid Wiest, Beatrice, Neb.
  • Rana Wood, South Beloit, Ill.
  • Justen Wright, Wilmington, Del.

The Funeral Service Foundation collects names for the Career Development Awards throughout the year. Licensed funeral directors interested in entering the drawing for an award may enter online at