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The Sunflower

A shutter click on Shocker history

Kevin Brown

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It is one thing being able to experience college from the perspective of a student.

But, it is a completely different perspective to have the opportunity to see college through a telephoto lens.

My time at Wichita State has been one of many experiences, both good and bad. However, no matter how I slice it, these experiences I will forever cherish and will always be a part of me.    

During my time as a reporter, photographer and former multimedia editor of The Sunflower, I didn’t just see the tale of Letitia Davis, the inauguration of a historical Student Government Administration and mid-air sporting emotions on a national stage with my bare eyes.

I saw these cataclysmic moments through the viewfinders of three beat up, grungy Canon cameras — and I was able to grow as a student, a professional, a Shocker and, most importantly, as a human being through the pentaprisms I saw these through.

Stories of triumph, frustration, sadness and happiness. Sometimes these stories turned out with a happy ending — others, not so much.

Regardless, each individual I photographed on this campus helped tell the story of being a Shocker — and each opportunity was an honor for me to learn, grow and change with each click of my camera’s shutter.

These are stories that helped take me (and my faithful cameras) across the country for opportunities with national news organizations, non-profits and, even, an opportunity on the campus of a NASA research center during summer 2015.

When I came back home to finish my degree here at WSU, the stories I told of life in the WSU community helped me gain an opportunity to become a photographer at KWCH channel 12, joining the Eyewitness News team in coverage of wildfires, community growth and, in February, a mass shooting that rocked a community I know and love.

And, this summer, those same cameras will be going with me across the country for the next chapter of my life as a grad student at Syracuse University — yes, that is correct. I am trading in some of my Shocker yellow for something, well, a little more orange.

The craziest opportunity of my life.

However, even with that, the stories I have told — and learned from — here in the Shocker community are also going with me.

With that, I want to say thank you to Sean, Shelby and Danielle at The Sunflower. This job has not only blessed me with some of the most amazing colleagues but some of the best friends I could have ever asked for. I couldn’t have done this job without you all. 

In addition, I want to extend a huge thank-you to Amy DeVault in the Elliott School for believing in me all these years, even when I didn’t believe in myself.

Out of everyone, though, I want to say thank you to, well, you: the Shocker community. Thank you for allowing me to come into your lives and tell stories of your triumph, tribulations and help establish your mark on history.

Most importantly, thank you for being my teacher, my mentor and, ultimately, an inspiration to strive for excellence. Go out and be great. Never turn down an opportunity. Look for beauty in every situation. I know you can do it.

After all, I have already witnessed you do it.

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