ETSU featured in episode of nationally  broadcast TV series ‘The College Tour’

Elizabethton.Com | April 26, 2021

New series tells the story of colleges and universities across the country.

JOHNSON CITY — COVID-19 safety restrictions have led to new opportunities to expand access for college visits beyond traditional in-person tours. A new nationally broadcast TV series created by Emmy-nominated and multi-award-winning producers, The College Tour, has released an episode featuring East Tennessee State University as told through the stories of eight students and two alumni who share their unique experiences and offer an inside look at life on campus and within the Johnson City community.

 The first season of The College Tour is streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Roku. Host Alex Boylan, who was part of the winning team on the second season of the reality TV show The Amazing Race, guides viewers on an exploration of what life is truly like on college campuses. The idea for the show came from Boylan’s 16-year-old niece.

 “Because of the pandemic and finances, she wasn’t able to travel to tour colleges, so using our skills as executive producers we created a series inspired by her and millions of other young people who are interested in attending college,” he said. “This series has been so fun to produce and we are excited to bring ETSU into homes across the world.”

 The College Tour is a cutting-edge approach to reaching prospective students through the voices and experiences of actual students and graduates.

 “No matter how far away someone is from Johnson City, Tennessee, they can learn about the exciting academic programs and experiences awaiting them here,” said Heather Levesque, director for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at ETSU. “The episode also highlights affordability, which we know is the first question for families as students navigate their future after high school.”

 Morristown native KeiAndra Harper, who is featured in The College Tour episode, tells viewers how she faced paying for college on her own and discovered scholarship opportunities that will allow her to graduate from ETSU debt-free. Sarah Hamilton explains how she is reaching her dreams of becoming a physician and Spanish interpreter right in her hometown of Johnson City.

 ETSU appeals to many students living outside the Appalachian Highlands, as shown in stories featuring Jaquae ‘Quay’ Holmes of Marietta, Ga., and Carly Brewington of Coral Springs, Fla. Holmes found his ETSU family not only on the football field, but also through shared connections with other student athletes, such as Brewington, a member of the ETSU Women’s Triathlon team. Brewington has received support from mentors and students as she completes her teaching residency program at ETSU’s University School.

 ETSU alumna Amythyst Kiah came to ETSU to study Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music under musician, writer and program founder Jack Tottle. In the episode, she talks about starting her music career at ETSU and receiving a Grammy nomination for a song she wrote titled “Black Myself,” which she also performs.

 Like Kiah, Caitlin Maupin left her hometown of Chattanooga to attend ETSU. She immediately connected with the local art community and was selected to paint a mural representing Johnson City that she shares in The College Tour episode.  Another Chattanooga native, Jaylen Malik Grimes, discovered his passion for student engagement through ETSU’s Preview and Orientation Leader Organization (POLO) and is working toward a master’s degree in Education, Leadership and Policy Analysis. He gives viewers some important advice about how to be successful at ETSU.

 “One of the best ways to learn about a college and if it is a good fit is to learn through another student’s experience,” Levesque said. “The College Tour is a collection of first-person stories that almost anyone can relate to and provides the connections students seek when searching for the campus they can call home. We hope people see themselves as part of the ETSU family after watching, and schedule a visit to see campus in person.”

 Anthony Salas of Kingsport also appears in The College Tour. He transferred to ETSU from a community college and shares with viewers many of the hands-on learning opportunities available in the Radio, TV and Film Program, including BucTV News, the East Tennessean, creating short films and traveling with student groups. Joseph Mora talks about a different opportunity to create what we see and interact with on screens. During his Digital Media studies at ETSU, the Nashville native has created and successfully launched his own 2-D game, Chiaroscuro. 

 Alumna Kayla Carter shares her passion for the outdoors and growing the community through her role as the outdoor development manager for Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership.

“Here, the people are as sweet as the tea and traffic is hardly an issue,” she says in The College Tour episode. “I have a very rewarding job because I get to give back to the beautiful southern Appalachian landscape and community I have lived in my whole life.”

 ETSU’s episode of The College Tour is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Roku. The full episode and individual student and alumni segments are also available to view at etsu.edu/episode.