Lights, camera, commencement: Film student reflects on her time behind the lens

May 07, 2024

Isabella Foley smiles wearing her graduation cap and gown.

For as long as Isabella Foley ’23, MA ’24, can remember, she’s always loved telling stories and being creative. Throughout her past four years at Quinnipiac, Foley’s passion for producing movies and television shows has grown tremendously leading her to her calling.

It wasn’t until coming to Quinnipiac that Foley found her passion for film.

Enrolling in the 3+1 accelerated dual-degree program, she was given the opportunity to become part of a tight-knit group of Bobcats that transformed her college experience. The choice to live in Ledges in the 3+1 Communications Living-Learning Community positively impacted her more than she could have ever expected.

"I met my incredible best friends during the very first week of classes and I truly can’t imagine my life without them now," said Foley. "Before entering college, I was worried that I wouldn’t find my people, but I couldn’t have been more wrong because they were waiting for me right inside that residence hall. That first year was a huge transition full of highs and lows, but I got through it — and have gotten through all of college — because of the people I met in Ledges."

Foley has had unique opportunities to learn and explore the field. Of these opportunities, Foley attended the Cannes Film Festival last year.

“It truly left like a dream,” said Foley. “Attending the Cannes Film Festival was one of the most memorable experiences of my whole life. In that two-week stay in the city of Cannes, I walked the red carpet at movie premieres, saw my cinematic heroes in the flesh, networked with dozens of industry professionals and broadened my global film expertise in ways I never knew was possible.”

From Cannes to Hamden, Foley took advantage of every opportunity that came her way. As a vital member of Q30-TV, Foley served as an executive producer and entertainment director.

“From the day I stepped onto campus, I knew I wanted to be part of Q30 Television,” she said. “The community within the organization is so encouraging and the energy from everyone involved is contagious. The opportunity to work inside of a student-run television studio and produce entertainment content that meant so much to me was so fulfilling.”

During her time at Q30, Foley worked on the entertainment news show "#THAT," managed the entire department during her third year, reported on Q30's "Newscast" and so much more. All of this experience has furthered Foley’s passion for cinematography.

“I feel especially prepared to enter the workforce because of the professional opportunities provided to me in Q30,” said Foley. “I was given immense responsibility, even in a student-run organization and that makes me feel ready to dominate my field! I learned how to have a proper on-air prescence, make split-second decisions, operate equipment and manage producers and talent. But most importantly, I gained a second family that I will hold close to me for the rest of my life.”

In addition to her time at Q30, Foley worked in the marketing and communications department at Quinnipiac. Writing stories for Quinnipiac Today, Foley shared impactful moments of students, faculty, staff and alumni within the community of Bobcat Nation.

“One of the moments that holds a special place in my heart is when I got to surprise the first two early-decision students, in the Class of 2028, at various high schools around Connecticut,” said Foley. “Channeling the spirit of Quinnipiac and getting to be a part of this milestone in their lives along with my coworkers and the students’ families is something that I will always cherish. I have made countless connections and memories that shaped the final moments of my Quinnipiac experience.”

Foley’s passion for film and cinematography is steadfast as her peers and professors comment on her dedication and commitment to her education.

“Bella will be remembered at Quinnipiac as an amazing storyteller, an outstanding writer, a ground-breaking cinematographer, a kind and generous community member and a model student in the classroom,” said Mary Schmitt, assistant professor. “With her unwavering compassion, critical mindset and exceptional skills, I believe Bella will go on to make the world a better place.”

“Bella is the kind of student that professors dream of,” said Blythe Frank, director of the cinematic production management graduate program. “She is positive, kind, always prepared and talented in many directions.”

As Foley prepares to cross the Commencement stage, she is excited to pursue her dreams of becoming a cinematographer.

“Behind the camera is where I feel at home,” said Foley. “I have been so blessed with the opportunities and open doors at Quinnipiac that I know will push me into a successful career in the years to come.”

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