When Alex Boylan first set foot on the campus of Salus University, the overwhelming vibe he got was a sense of community that permeated the grounds.
“It felt like more of a family on campus. I think because it's this small close-knit group of people, all going to school with a purpose,” said Boylan.
Boylan is the executive producer and host of The College Tour, a TV series produced by Emmy-nominated and multi-award-winning producers featuring individual episodes on colleges and universities across the country.
A film crew from The College Tour spent a week at the University’s Elkins Park, Pennsylvania campus in early March to capture its specialness. Each segment of The College Tour, which streams on both Amazon Prime and Roku, is student-and faculty-driven to give viewers a look at what it’s like to be a student at Salus and what makes Salus unique.
And, now it’s time to see the finished product. A “launch party,” which will include a meet and greet with the cast, Q&A session, refreshments, a DJ and more culminating in viewing the half-hour segment, will happen this Thursday, June 10, from from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Hafter Student Community Center.
“The production team and the Salus team were very encouraging and supportive throughout the entire creative process,” said Pratik Shah ‘22OD
. “My favorite part about filming was to really see the behind-the-scenes part of the production. It was so interesting to actually interact with the people that helped with the script-writing process, the lighting, the audio team and everyone involved.”
In addition to Shah, the Salus student cast for the segment included Zachary LaBarth ‘23AUD; Ashka Patel ‘23OD; Mohit Batra, OD ‘21; Samantha Wereszczak ‘22PA; Jaqueline Wiafe ‘24AUD; Tavii El, MSOT ‘21; Sonja Makitan ‘23OD; and Sierra Niesen, ‘24AUD
“Being a part of the filming process was really incredible. My journey to Salus hasn't been easy but I love being able to share my experience with others,” said Sierra Niesen ‘24AUD
. “My favorite part of the filming process was seeing how they filmed my segment and the magic that happened to make it into the final product. They made me look good!”
Faculty members making on-screen appearances included Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP
, chair and director of the University’s Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) department; and Kelly Malloy, OD ‘96, Resident ‘97, FAAO, Diplomate
, chief of the Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease Service at The Eye Institute (TEI) and professor of optometry in the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO). Salus president Michael H. Mittelman, OD ‘80, MPH, MBA,FAAO, FACHE
, also delivers a message at the end of the segment.
But it was the students who were the stars of the show. Each wrote their own script which they had to memorize, no easy feat for those who aren’t used to being in front of the camera. For many, it was the first time in a starring role, and as viewers will see in the finished product, they pulled it off beautifully.
“It was a great opportunity to reflect on my journey and how far I've come. Filming was really fun and the crew was so encouraging and helpful in calming my nerves,” said Sonja Makitan ‘23OD
Show host Boylan is no stranger to television. After winning CBS’s reality show “The Amazing Race” in 2002, he went on to host “The Chef’s Table,” the No. 1 food series on PBS; and “Animal Attractions,” the No. 1 animal series on PBS. Boylan was CBS’s national ambassador for two summers on the “CBS Buzz Tour” and has hosted more than 100 segments for the Travel Channel. He was also Rachel Ray’s sidekick host on her syndicated talk show “Rach to the Rescue.”
Boylan said “The College Tour” is designed for students and parents to sit back and get a true sense of what the college experience is like at Salus, especially those who can’t initially travel to campus for an on-site visit. The segment can also be used in the University’s promotion and fundraising efforts.
He was happy with the finished Salus segment and was highly complimentary of the “stars” of the show.
“None of these students, none of these professors, have probably ever been on television before. And, when you watch it, I think you would think that they have been doing this their whole life,” he said.
That’s not only a tribute the students and faculty, but also to the production team of The College Tour working in tandem with the University’s Office of Communications team members to produce a polished, informative and enjoyable segment.
“These people are going to be doctors and healthcare professionals. They're so specialized and all of a sudden, they're coming into this completely other world,” said Boylan. “And, we're like, ‘Okay, now we're going to play that on television. And, we want you to be you.’ It's magical.”