From QU to the big screen

Streaming show ‘The College Tour’ shoots episode at QU

Katie Langley, News Editor

Students will get a chance to see themselves on the television in the streaming series, “The College Tour,” which will highlight the Quinnipiac University campus, athletics, community and academic programs in its eighth season, set to premiere this winter.

The series, which is available through the College Tour App and streaming on Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Roku and more, stars “The Amazing Race” winner and host Alex Boylan with student cameos from the school it is featuring in each episode. The students, along with the production team, started shooting the episode Oct. 3, finishing production Oct. 7.

One such student is Maria Mastropaolo, who will give viewers a tour of the North Haven Campus’ Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine in the episode, showing off the clinical simulation lab and bone room.

Mastropaolo, who is a fourth-year medical student, said that she was inspired to get involved in the production when the university announced an open casting call by email Aug. 10, asking students to share what they love about Quinnipiac through a two minute video.

“I want to show (viewers) how far you can take your education at Quinnipiac,” Mastropaolo told the Chronicle. “I started as an undergrad in 2014 and then I decided I wanted to go to medical school by sophomore year, and came up with this plan. The people at Quinnipiac were like, ‘okay, we’re gonna help you make it happen.’”

Though she is currently concentrating on medical research, Mastropaolo said that being the star of her own Hollywood show is her “backup plan.” Family members call her “Doctor Bobcat” due to her commitment to completing both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Quinnipiac, Mastropaolo said.

“(The show) is going to paint Qunnipiac in a really great light,” Mastropaolo said. “I think that people like high school students deserve to know that there’s some place that’ll really care about them and see their truest potential.”

The cast and crew also traveled to Quinnipiac’s other two campuses at York Hill and Mount Carmel. They filmed in locations such as On the Rocks Pub at the Rocky Top Student Center, M&T Bank Arena, the Center for Communications and Engineering, the Quad and even took a hike at Sleeping Giant State Park.

“The students that participate in the show… have this one little chapter that they did a television show while they were a student here,” said Chris Kelly, director of photography for The College Tour. “So it’s a nice little thing to look back on when they’re in their amazing career, when they graduate and they got their degree, they could say that ‘I was in this television show while I was in college.’”

Hallye Boughner, a sophomore nursing major, also participated in The College Tour as a host. She said that during her own college application process, she had to narrow down a list of about fifty schools. She hopes that the show might be able to assist with the tough decision of deciding what to do post high school, Boughner said.

“I was able to have the opportunity, and so were the other students, to write their own script and share their story,” Boughner said. “(The College Tour) just gave us specific segments based off (of) our audition video of what we would be talking about but we had full creativity to write what we wanted, to share our story and give our input.”

The crew filmed Boughner and friends on Oct. 4 and 6 in CCE, the Multicultural Suite and the Quad and on the North Haven Campus. In total, ten student hosts will make appearances on the show and talk about their respective experiences at Quinnipiac.

The College Tour has a sales team that contacts colleges and universities and accepts submissions from schools that want to be featured in the show. The show started in 2020 when high school students couldn’t travel to in-person college tours because of the COVID-19 pandemic, producer and director Josh Douglass said.

“It’s just better to have (the show) as a tool for high school kids to… narrow it down and get more information without having the expense of traveling to a college,” Douglass said. “You can get more information or more of a feel for the college by watching the show than you might otherwise from other materials that are available.”

With almost 80 episodes available on its app to date, The College Tour has covered local universities like Sacred Heart University and the University of Connecticut. Seeing their neighbors on screen inspired the university’s marketing team to pursue its own episode, Quinnipiac Senior Director of User Experience and Engagement Jonathan Sawitsky said.

“(Quinnipiac) made contact with (The College Tour), they reached out, we had conversations, a couple of phone calls about the feasibility, which involved a big commitment to be here for a whole week,” Sawitsky said. “These folks seemed like it made sense and then we jumped in with these guys.”

In addition to having student hosts, the crew also shot b-roll footage with students and professors.

Davina Matinho, a third-year medical student and friend of Mastropaolo, joined her in doing a scene using medical mannequins in the Clinical Simulation Lab.

“It’s been really cool to show people what it’s like, in our life on a daily basis as a student with studying, with training with patients– even model patients– and I’m just excited to be here,” Matinho said.

Though students were not paid for their contribution to The College Tour, the hosts expressed the appeal of showing Quinnipiac to potential students and having a new, unique experience.

“For my segment, I had ‘A Healthy and Welcoming Community,’” Boughner said. “So I talked about my college journey before it started, the college decision process and how I applied to a very long list of schools, and that the only school that felt like home was Qunnipiac, and that’s why I decided to attend.”