First-year student finds inspiration, embraces opportunity in Bellisario College

Nina Trach
October 16, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The 1985 film “The Breakfast Club” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” brought one first-year student to the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications in pursuit of a film degree.

Matthew Farrell, from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, credits these two works as his motivation to study film. Inspired by the simple, yet meaningful, message of the film and the book’s teachings to avoid being part of a perfect society, Farrell was influenced to find a career that would let him write, create and do what he wanted to do.

Farrell was originally opposed to attending Penn State — not wanting to attend the same school as his sister, a math major who graduated from the University in 2018. His opinion changed, however, when he came to support her while she was dancing in the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON).

He fell in love first with the campus and then had a moment of clarity during his time at THON.

“I remember in that moment, I knew I made the right choice,” Farrell said, recalling the atmosphere and energy created by Penn State students. “This is the place to go, this is what I want to be involved with.”

“This is the place to go, this is what I want to be involved with.”

A few months into his college career, Farrell is most excited for the opportunities in career development and education abroad with the Bellisario College. He hopes to complete internships in the coming years and participate in the Penn State Hollywood Program to take advantage of the unique opportunity to work and study in Los Angeles as a film student.

“I’m really looking forward to applying to that and trying to study in L.A.,” Farrell said. “It’s everybody who is involved in production’s dream.”

Interested in being a part of something larger than himself, Farrell has already started to get involved on campus. He is a member of BASH, an organization benefiting THON, and hopes to serve on a THON committee. He also has a role as a photojournalist for The Daily Collegian.

Farrell is already involved with Movin’ On, the annual on-campus music festival held in the spring. He said he is anticipating his work as a photographer at the event as an opportunity to mix his passion for film and photography with his love for music.

The Movin' On community has helped Farrell feel welcome on campus, especially following his acceptance into the organization.

“They took the time to come to my dorm with a balloon to congratulate me,” Farrell said. “I thought that was really cool instead of just sending an email.”

Farrell is a 2018 recipient of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications Scholarship and Student Support Endowment. Besides his extracurricular involvement, he is anxious to get into classes relevant to his major. He is already enjoying COMM 150N Art of the Cinema and said he is ready for more hands-on film experience.

“I’m really excited to get into making stuff,” Farrell said. “I’ve always had a tendency to create, and I’m excited to work, not just by myself but with a team and production value, instead of just me with a DSLR in my room.”

Last Updated October 17, 2018