Looking Inwards

LOOKING INWARDS

As the global pandemic transitioned from novelty to reality, Western Kentucky University college students realized their lives would be altered forever

When students of the School of Media at Western Kentucky University beelined from their cramped dorm rooms and fluorescent lit classrooms in Jody Richards Hall to enjoy a week respite on March 6, 2020, they were blissfully ignorant of the storm that was about to shatter their perception of what college education would become, how their world would change and what their future may become.

The COVID-19 pandemic at first felt like this bump in the road that was merely an inconvenience but as WKU President Timothy Caboni, like other schools across the country and around the globe, announced classes were to move online for the rest of the semester, college life as it used to be quickly became a distant, hazy dream. Dimly lit basements or child-hood bedrooms became the new classroom as increasingly un-kept students clung to their red solo cups which were filled with a liquid of ambiguous content (at least to the professor) as they swayed to whatever heavy bass they could feel in their mind as they pretended to maintain attention in the new Zoom world. Instantly gone from their grasps the sensations of college life freedom.

View the complete project online at: http://lookinginwards.tilda.ws

Produced by Gabi Broekema

Content by Fatimah Alhamdin, Grace Bailey, Raaj Banga, Morgan Bass, Gabi Broekema, Alex Driehaus, Kennedy Gott, Morgan Hornsby, Missy Johnson, Cassady Lamb, Sam Mallon, Vonn Pillman, Rachel Taylor, Lily Estella Thompson

Photo and Journal entry by Sam Mallon

SELF PORTRAIT
MARCH, 2020
I find myself exhausted though my quarantine days are filled with very little movement. I long for places to go and people to see; I am grieving the could-have, would-have, should-have-beens. I am grateful that I am safe and it is my responsibility to keep others safe, so I have been staying inside and learning to spend time with myself. I have found solace in the fact that the trees are turning green — they remind me that we are all still growing —I am eager to see how much stronger we are on the other side of the current pandemic.


Video and Journal by Lily Estella Thompson

MAKING IT THROUGH
SUMMER, 2020
“Upon reflection of our relationship throughout the pandemic, Brandon and I try to make sense about what went wrong, and what went right during this time of isolation. In a video and thru images I took, we are both made to talk about what it has been like living together through one of the most historic times in our lives.”

 

Photo and Journal by Morgan Bass
SELF PORTRAIT
MAY, 2020
I used to be an extrovert, someone who would strike up conversations with strangers for fun. After half a year in social isolation, the mere thought of putting myself out there like that is suffocating. Since March of 2020, I have been on a downward spiral into a pit of panic attacks and depressive episodes. I have been trying to act like the person I was before, but there is a piece that is now missing from that person that I used to be, and I am not sure how to pretend that it isn’t.

 

Photo of her family by Rachel Taylor
FAMILY CHURCH SERVICE
APRIL, 2020
“The first thing I’m doing when quarantine is over is going to church,” Catherine Taylor said on Sunday. Much like her husband, she has missed very few Sundays and longs to be back in the church building she grew up in, rather than praying virtually on her front porch. “I know that church isn’t just a building, but I can’t wait to be worshiping with my church family again.” she added.

Driving Change | by Sam Mallon

Sam Mallon, a junior WKU Photojournalism major, documents Bowling Green’s Mobile Grocery Bus, that was established by the Housing Authority of Bowling Green to address the growing problems of food insecurity in the region. Bus driver Danny Carothers takes us on the tour of the outreach program that has recently gotten national attention from HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

You can view the entire project here.


“I want to serve people in any way, form or fashion… I think it was just what I was raised to do,” Carothers said. He may have given up on his dream of teaching, but his giving spirit lives in all of his work, especially in regard to the Mobile Grocery Bus.

Defying All Odds

Defying All Odds

A mother’s determination to make a change for herself and family

By Kathryn Ziesig

Work hard, go to college, get a good job, meet your mate, settle down, have kids, and retire comfortably. The American dream, an idealized version of how one’s life is supposed to playout.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, “a happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the U.S. especially by working hard and becoming successful.” It is a goal people have been chasing for decades, but what happens when someone’s life doesn’t quite match up to the perfect outline?

The complete story can be viewed here

Embody – by Srijita Chattopadhyay

She had the life others could only dream of, a career as a musician in the music city – Nashville, Tennessee. She was talented, and she was beautiful. There was nothing that could stop her rise to stardom. Although, at the end of the day in the solitude of her dressing room she would weep because she was born a ‘she.’

Through Our Eyes – 10/17/17

Best of the best:

Laura Webb waves goodbye to her foster son Dawson as he goes to school. Unknown to Dawson, his mother and father would soon leave for a court appointment regarding the adoption of him and his brother. After three years of foster care, the court system changed the goal of the boys’ case to adoption and decided to begin the process of terminating parental rights.|Morgan Hornsby

Honorable mention:

WKU tight end Mik’Quan Deane (85) catches a pass for a touch down at the WKU Homecoming football game on Saturday October 14, 2017 at LT Smith Stadium. WKU won 45 to 14.|Silas Walker

Other work:

A fight breaks out between patrons and is quickly pushed out into the parking lot during Yo Gotti’s performance at a concert on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at the Sloan Convention Center. |Silas Walker

Saxton lights one of many kerosene lamps for light in his home as the sun sets. | Kelsea Hobbs

Dawson waits for the bus while his foster mother Laura Webb dries her hair in preparation for their upcoming court appointment. Unknown to Dawson, his mother and father would soon leave for court to receive a hearing on the status of the adoption of him and his brother. After three years of foster care, the court system changed the goal of the boys’ case to adoption and decided to begin the process of terminating parental rights.|Morgan Hornsby

Paige Henderson dances with her friend Melody Dickerson in Henderson’s dorm room. The two are both on the Major Redz majorette-style dance team. Since meeting at tryouts, they spend most days practicing routines or creating new choreography homework for the Major Redz. “Most days, we dance, Henderson said. Everywhere, sometimes in the Chick-Fil-A line.” | Morgan Hornsby

Wide Receiver Cameron Echols-Luper #23 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers gives high fives to young fans after his game against Charlotte at L.T. Smith Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Bowling Green, Kentucky.|Shaban Athuman

Quarterback Brooks Barden #12 of the Charlotte 49ers is tacked by Defensive Back Drell Greene #9 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at L.T. Smith Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. |Shaban Athuman

A member of the WKU Athletic staff holds a smoke canister before as the Hilltoppers are introduced on the field to play against Charlotte at L.T. Smith Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. |Shaban Athuman

Frank Phelps outside his mechanic shop in Bowling Green, Ky. Phelps and Son was once run by himself and his father, Andrew, but he has since taken over, often working 12-hour days. | Gabe Scarlett

Through Our Eyes-04/18/17

Ibtisam at the International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green in April 2017. She is a refugee from Somali, and her family is preparing to move to Ohio on the weekend. The International Center helps hundreds of refugees to resettle and transition to life in America. With one of his first executive orders, Donald Trump cut refugee intake from 110,000 to 50,000. The International Center and many of its programs now face cuts.|Gabriel Scarlett.

Nature meets industry outside of Detroit, MI in March 2017. For decades the Environment Protection Agency has regulated this delicate dance between the two. Under the Trump administration, the EPA’s budget is set to be cut by nearly 30 percent–$2.6 billion–in an attempt at boosting the manufacturing and energy sectors.|Gabriel Scarlett.

Through Our Eyes-04/11/17

Michelle Calnan, 52 of Knoxville, Tennessee sits in her bed after getting little sleep the night before due to symptoms of Benzo withdrawal. “I don’t want to be in this body. I’m tired of seeing the same trees out of the same window feeling the same way,” said Calnan while she wept in her bed. Calnan was prescribed Klonopin ,an anti-anxiety drug for over 20 years that is designed to be used for a maximum of four weeks. She is currently attempting to taper off the medication which is a lengthy process taking anywhere from three to six years.|Michael Noble Jr.

Rosalino Santiago Garcia and his wife, Sabina Garcia Pacheco, wait to have a lasso placed on their shoulders by their sponsors during the couple’s wedding ceremony in Santa Ana, Oaxaca, Mexico on March 25, 2017. The lasso is a staple of Hispanic weddings and symbolizes the couple’s everlasting union. The two were officially married five years prior in a civil union, but it wasn’t until March that they could afford to throw a proper celebration after they saved enough of the money that Rosalino earned as a migrant worker in the tobacco fields of Kentucky.|Nick Wagner

Siena Heights University Asia Gardner sprints to the finish line as she anchors in the second heat of the 4×100 meter race during the Hilltopper Relays on Saturday April 8, 2017 at Charles M Reuters Track and Field Complex.|Shaban Athuman

Indiana Tech’s Jordan Partee falls into the sand pit after jumping 6.64 meters during the Hilltopper Relays on Saturday April 8, 2017 at Charles M Reuters Track and Field Complex. Partee would finish in 8th overall with a 6.74 meters.|Shaban Athuman

**This past Tuesday, WKU students skyped with members of RIT’s NPPA student chapter and exchanged photos for a joint critique session. WKU students discussed and selected the best photos from RIT. They did the same with us. Check out what RIT selected as their top photos from this past week! A big thanks to RIT for making the collaboration happen!

Through Our Eyes-03/28/17

Rafey Wahlah of Lahore Bunjab, Pakistan has been in the United States for four years. Wahlah is currently the President of the Pakistani Student Association at Western Kentucky. This association was founded three years ago by students of this nationality. Wahlah stated, “When I first came here there were only four Pakistani students, a year later there were about 30; as I graduate this year, I fear we won’t have many Pakistani students attending this University to continue the PSA organization.”|Ebony Cox

Mariam Athuman, 5, is bathed in the afternoon light at her home in Roanoke, Virginia. Her family moved to the United States from a refugee camp in Tanzania in 2008. She is now a citizen.|Shaban Athuman

Much hangs in the balance for Rafey Wahlah, a senior at Western Kentucky University. Wahlah, the current president of the Pakistani Student Association at WKU, will graduate this spring with a degree in Political Science and hopes to return home to Lahore, Pakistan where his family resides but has also begun to seek out work in the United States while he is still eligible under the OTP student visa work program that allows foreign college students enrolled in US schools to begin their careers in the US for a short time in hopes of being selected for an H1-B visa, the first step in the green card process.|Alyse Young

Stitched Past by Sawyer Smith

Stitched Past

WKUPJ student Sawyer Smith examines the impact of the social enterprise company Krochet Kids who’s mission is to empower women to move out of poverty through education and work.

Sawyer traveled to Lima, Peru to document their program in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods.

View her project here: https://sawyersmith.atavist.com/stitched_past