A Look Inside the Quinnipiac in LA Program


Tim Malone, Associate Producer

Every morning for the past 10 weeks, Quinnipiac University student Caroline Torpey wakes up at 7 a.m. and begins meal-prepping for what could be a 10-hour work day in her dream city, Los Angeles. Torpey, a third-year film, television, and media studies major has always aspired to live in LA at some point in her life and now through the Quinnipiac in Los Angeles Program (QU in LA), she has gotten the chance to simulate that lifestyle before she even receives her bachelor’s degree. 

“I really enjoy being surrounded by the people here,” Torpey said. “Everyone is very ambitious and wants to stand out which I really admire. It motivates me to try things differently and not be afraid to stand out.” 

Along with 16 other Quinnipiac students, Torpey has spent her summer exploring her career goals in LA through her internships. Torpey was a marketing intern for a film distribution company under Paramount productions called Highland Film Group, and an intern for a production company called Conteur that does commercials and music videos for artists like Avril Lavigne and Blackbear. Her work includes creating content for various social media platforms and outreach with music managers and publicists. Torpey was even able to make a TikTok for the Highland Film Group’s marketing, which has now garnered over 110,000 views. As a remote intern, Torpey sometimes worked with her friends by the pool, allowing herself to enjoy the renowned LA weather. She feels LA is full of so many “spontaneous” opportunities, even when you least expect it.

“One of my favorite stories is when my friend Jacob, who is also doing the program, took the wrong train and met someone along the way,” Torpey said. “They asked him to help shoot a music video. It’s all about being at the right place at the right time and who you know. It makes me excited for what’s going to come.”

As a film major and business minor, Torpey believes her two internships are perfectly aligned with her studies and says she’s happy she’s working in smaller work environments. In addition, Torpey feels more comfortable pursuing the aspects of marketing and production that she loves after completing her internships.

“I used to be interested in owning my own production company, being a marketing executive, or becoming a content creator. I still have those same aspirations, but the difference is that I now am more confident that I can achieve those goals.” 

As well as gaining extra experience and a stronger belief in herself, Torpey feels that the program has also exposed her to various aspects of marketing outside of what she previously knew. 

“In terms of my career path, I am more open to having a role in marketing in something outside the entertainment world, like a beauty, fashion or tech company or brand.”

Most attendees of the program are communications majors like Torpey, as the city is a large pocket for creativity-based careers. Seeking to build a bridge from this large opportunistic city to Quinnipiac students, the QU in LA Program Director Andres Rosende Novo believes there are many benefits to the program. Novo hopes that with his direction, students will be less hesitant to live in a big city like LA.

“My goal with the program was always to like demystify the city, for those who are thinking of going to LA eventually, lose the fear of the city,” Novo said. “It’s a huge city, the lifestyle is a little different than every other city I’ve seen in the U.S. It’s a little overwhelming but I feel that after two or three weeks, people feel pretty comfortable navigating it.”

Apart from exploring the city themselves, the students are treated with plenty of activities when they’re off the clock including trips to museums, Disneyland, a play at the Hollywood bowl, seeing “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, and more. Torpey’s favorite was the Dodgers game during the stadium’s annual Pride Night.

“Big artists were there like Jojo Siwa and Demi Lovato which made the energy more fun and hype. My friends and I had a lot of fun cheering and dancing,” Torpey said. 

After spending 10 weeks in LA, Torpey says the best advice for attending the program is having a positive attitude towards the work and people.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s really about being friendly and doing your best at any job you have because everyone here wants to help you out if you’re a nice person,” Torpey said.

The program taught her that being your genuine self and making connections is crucial to the workplace. She gained insight on the value of showing up in a world which is becoming more virtual-focused.

“With the pandemic, most people have transitioned to remote work. I learned that if you have the opportunity to go into the office, go in-person, because you are more likely to get to know the people around you and learn skills you can only learn through real-life experiences. You can teach any skill, but you can’t teach personality. At the end of the day show up and be yourself,” Torpey said.

In the upcoming fall semester, Novo will be holding two QU in LA information sessions during the month of October for students to learn more about the program.