Megan Johansen, '19

Terra State’s First Last Responder

The most appealing part to me was knowing if I passed and graduated from the College under the Mortuary Science Pathway that I would automatically have a seat at CCMS.

“I am not a first responder, but the last responder,” said Megan Johansen, the first to complete the Mortuary Science Pathway between Terra State and Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science (CCMS). Most people who want to take care of people as patients either want to become a nurse, doctor or even work in emergency personnel as an EMT; however, Megan had other ideas. She was called to work as a licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer and Crematory Operator. How she chose this career and got to her success today was not always perfect.

After graduating from Fremont Ross High School in 2011, Megan knew she wanted to go to College but was unsure about what to study. She applied to a four-year university, but that did not work out. Instead, she decided to enroll at Terra State. She enrolled full-time in 2012 as a General Business major; however, ended up dropping out because she knew this was not her path.

After dropping out of college early, she worked in retail sales and then as a receptionist for a dealership in Fremont. During these years, she knew something was missing from her life, and after a push from her mom to look at the programs that Terra State has to offer again, she found her calling. “I was casually browsing Terra State’s website one morning to see if anything would pique my interest, and that’s when I found the Mortuary Science Pathway. That was it! I had zero doubt in my mind that that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I went to Terra that same day and signed up for classes,” said Megan.

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    Engle-Shook Funeral Home - Tiffin, OH

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    Job TitleFuneral Director, Embalmer and Crematory Operator
Megan Johansen

Megan graduated from Terra State in 2019 with her Associate of Individualized Study in Pre-Mortuary Science. When thinking about her experience at the College, she says, “It was great! It was challenging at times, but I truly feel that Terra State set me up to be in the best position possible. The College made my goals easily attainable by building a pathway that helped me achieve my goals, and I made friends along the way! What more could I ask for?” Because she was working two jobs while taking classes, Megan did not have the chance to participate in any extracurriculars, but she credits the College for having this program fully online allowing her to achieve a great school/work/life balance.

“The best part of Terra State was my degree was fully online,” says Megan. She was challenged by her classes; however, she is grateful because they taught her how to be accountable, responsible, organized and extremely detail-oriented to succeed. Even though it was online, she still made plenty of friends through her classes. “We all share the same struggles and anxieties as well as the same successes, and when you have to teach yourself because your professor is not always right there you turn to your classmates. Those classmates soon become your sounding boards, your confidants and your best friends who you rely on for help and comedic relief when things get stressful.” Her friends kept her motivated and pushed her to be at her best even if something seemed a little difficult at the moment.

Upon graduation from Terra State, Megan transferred to CCMS in Cincinnati, Ohio. The transfer process for her was a breeze, “I did not have to do much aside from sending over my official transcript and applying online. Both advisors from Terra State and CCMS were beyond helpful if I had any questions or needed assistance with getting things coordinated,” said Megan. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from CCMS with her Bachelor of Mortuary Science degree. The whole program took her a little over three years to complete from the start of the Terra State’s Pre-Mortuary Science degree to the end of the bachelor’s program at CCMS. “The degrees I obtained and the quality of education I received from both institutions was well worth it.”

Megan is now a licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer and Crematory Operator at Engle-Shook Funeral Home in Tiffin, Ohio. She has the utmost pride and is very passionate about her work to provide the best service and care for each person. Megan came into this field knowing that she would be working odd and long hours, but she does not mind it. “Death does not take a holiday. I work anytime, regardless if it is the middle of the night or on a weekend. It’s not odd to me. When I wake up or have to go to work on a day I have off, I do it because someone else is having a much worse day than me. That’s on me, and it’s okay. I’m going to bear that responsibility because someone just lost their loved one and if I can help lessen a little bit of their pain I am going to,” said Megan. Her goal is to honor each person. "If I can create a dignified and peaceful memorialization for each loved one that respects the family's wishes and brings them comfort, then I know I have done my job."

“For anyone looking at studying Pre-Mortuary, I highly recommend they check out Terra State. The most appealing part to me was knowing if I passed and graduated from the College under the Mortuary Science Pathway that I would automatically have a seat at CCMS. Knowing I would not have to fight for a seat after working so hard to earn it was a major incentive,” said Megan.

Megan lives and just bought a home in Tiffin with her husband, Ben and their pets. “I am grateful that Terra State paved the way for me to get to where I wanted to be and helped me achieve my goals. I urge you to look into all of their programs because you may just find your calling too.”