What Came After

Katie Fox, Mary Caroline Funk, Kgosi Hughes, Caroline Kernell, Greyson Lehman & Jacob Thomas

Spring 2022



espite a relentless pandemic, students arrived on campus for the fall semester to reclaim places and traditions that bring them joy. Here is what they captured through their cell phone cameras.



Greyson Lehman

    • Greyson LehmanSenior
    • Durham, North Carolina
    • Major: Biology

I lived on campus last year, but the energy wasn’t the same. More than anything, just seeing professors and students in person again and being able to have those important conversations to build relationships (are the best things about being back). Seeing the campus community come to life again — although I never felt like it “died” last year — it feels like we just picked up right where we left off. There’s still that sense of engagement and community even after a year of being engaged virtually.


“The (first) football game stands out because that was such a critical piece that we lost, the in-person fan experience, last year. The student body was looking forward so much to the game and having that experience again.” –Greyson Lehman

“As a biology major, a lot of my classes are in Winston Hall on the south side of campus. I park my car in the off-campus lot in Reynolda Village and walk to campus. It's a very meditative walk and the gateway to campus that I take every day.” –Greyson Lehman

“Seeing people sitting outside eating, studying, hanging out, having casual conversations … faculty and staff and people across (class) years engaging. I wanted to capture the simple intricacies of the Quad being the hub of residential life.” –Greyson Lehman

“I had just gotten lunch in Benson, and there was a lot of good, busy energy. It was great to see student organizations back in action and engaging with students.” –Greyson Lehman



Mary Caroline Funk

  • A portrait of Mary Caroline FunkSenior
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Major: Communication
  • Minor: Entrepreneurship

Last year was full of rules. Am I breaking a rule? Am I going to get into trouble? It was really limiting on what you could do and who could come in your room. Every day we were wondering, you know, what should we do, because you can only sit on the Quad for so many hours. But it was filled with a bunch of walks and one-on-one talks with friends. It was definitely, in terms of friendships, a more intentional year (with) a lot of deeper talks between two people, more so than it was with big group activity, obviously.

In terms of COVID, I think I have a unique class because we started off with the normal (first) year, and then we got cut short our sophomore year and junior year, and now we’re pretty normal again. We knew what Wake was like before, and now we are seeing it after. It’s still such a special place, and everyone loves it so much. Looking back, I am just so thankful to be here, and this year especially I’m just remembering how much I really do love it and everything about it.

I was telling someone that I think this is a place where I’ve grown more as a person than I would have at any other place. It’s because of those cool opportunities I’ve had — to be a president’s aide and have breakfast with Dr. (Susan) Wente last week and get to know Provost (Rogan) Kersh (’86) and be in his class and get to know other professors and not just be in their class and leave and never see them again. Wake has definitely been a place where I have, holistically, become a better version of myself.


“That was with (senior) Laney Reed. We decided very spontaneously one afternoon to go kayaking at Salem Lake. It was fun. Instead of sitting outside on the couch or something, we just went and hung out.” –Mary Caroline Funk; photo by Julie Gass ('22)

“That is Danny’s birthday. We decided to cook dinner together, and it was really fun because it was all our best friends in one place. It was the first week of school, right after the start of classes. It was a great way to be all together again.” –Mary Caroline Funk

Students return to the bricks of campus. –Mary Caroline Funk



Jacob Thomas

  • A portrait of Jacob Thomas Senior
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Major: biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Minors: Spanish and studio art

I spent last summer working at Wake Downtown. It was an interesting transition to go from having virtually no one on campus to being back at full capacity. One of the things I tried to highlight in my photos was the fact that there was a sense of light, an intellectual and social vibrancy on campus that was really underscored by outside events and the things I saw around campus, where students were congregating and having fun. That’s one of the things that excited me most about coming back to school, knowing that we would have the opportunity to engage in social settings again.


“I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite places. I run through Reynolda Gardens two or three times a week. I like the reflecting pool because it has life in it; there’s fish and a little frog in there. The purple flower drew me into taking the picture. It’s testament to the beauty that’s directly next to Wake Forest that a lot of people don’t always tap into.” –Jacob Thomas

“That’s a Ph.D. student, Sarah Nichols (Ph.D. ’25), who’s over my research project, studying rotavirus reassortment. I’ve done research since my junior year. I’ve learned from Ph.D. students and postdocs who’ve cycled through the lab. I really enjoy the collaborative environment of Wake Downtown, so I go there pretty much daily to work on my project.” –Jacob Thomas

“The one in front of the Black Student Alliance (in Kitchin Residence Hall) is one of my favorites because it’s so intimate to who I’ve been at Wake Forest and my role as BSA president. It’s become a place for students to come and feel welcome. Cultivating that space has been a delight and a challenge … to form something that can be long lasting on campus.” –Jacob Thomas



Caroline Kernell

  • A portrait of Caroline Kernell.Senior
  • Houston, Texas
  • Major: Biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Minor: Religious studies

The very first thing I noticed coming back — I was actually a little bit not excited for in-person classes. I felt like I had more free time because I wasn’t physically in class. So I was a little bit wary about coming back to classes. However, I hadn’t realized my lack of exercise from not having in-person classes and walking from my car to class. It had been a really good mood booster. Walking, you clear your head a lot.

Next, I really like seeing people. I probably saw a total of five people last year. Now, I see a lot of people, and it’s the return of those small-talk conversations. I talk with people who I wouldn’t necessarily hang out with outside of class that I really like and really enjoy talking to. It’s a lot more socially fulfilling.

The secondary social network and social support that are beneficial have made this year a lot more exciting. I like seeing professors. I missed talking to professors. It’s definitely easier to pay attention in person than on Zoom, and it keeps you more engaged in the content.

I feel like everybody has come back alive now that everybody can continue to cultivate that social environment that Wake Forest has. It’s made me realize the importance of that in what defines Wake Forest as a community.


(Photographed on Sept. 1, day of Mount Tabor High School shooting) “I didn’t realize it until now, but I think that is a powerful thing. It signified there was still joy in the world. It had been raining for days. ... So, there were glimpses of beautiful things in dark times. It was kind of like a nice, deep breath, seeing that rainbow. It can symbolize coming back to Wake after COVID — a nice, deep breath.” –Caroline Kernell

“I was with friends, and we were at Krankies (Coffee), and this was the first time we had been to Krankies since before COVID. We were sitting down, chilling. The reason I wanted to focus on this moment is that as a very extroverted person I love going to coffee shops and working instead of working in my apartment or the library. I think it was our first Sunday back. It was our weekend treat.” –Caroline Kernell

"I like sunsets a lot. I was grateful honestly to be walking around and having the opportunity to see it. ... [This sunset] was this grand scene. This is what reminds me of why Wake Forest is so beautiful — to have all the brick buildings and a sunset." –Caroline Kernell

“My a cappella group (Minor Variation), the new members, we always take them to Cook Out. That’s our tradition. (This day) was one of the best times. With a cappella, with COVID, we couldn’t sing inside. We had to sing 10 feet apart with masks to rehearse, and we couldn’t go on our fall retreat, and we couldn't have our Christmas concert. (The photo shows) a really joyous moment for all of us … not even for just the freshmen but the sophomores. It was the first normal return to tradition. Almost for that hour we were there, it was like COVID didn’t exist, which was really nice.” –Caroline Kernell



Kgosi Hughes

  • Kgosi Hughes portraitJunior
  • Gaborone, Botswana
  • Major: Biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Minors: Music and psychology

I was the first on campus to get COVID in the spring of 2020. I was fortunate enough to go on a choir trip to London over spring break. We spent about 10 days there. A couple days leading up to (the return), I was feeling a little sick. I actually just thought it was a climate change, going to another country, but I guess I was wrong. When I came back, the next day I felt very incredibly sick, aching in my body. I had a fever that was extremely high, and I was coughing nonstop.

I didn’t know I had COVID, but I was pretty afraid if it was COVID because I didn’t know anyone who had COVID yet. … It was just the choir that came back, and most of the students in the choir got picked up by their parents and left. There was just a handful of us on campus. I went to Student Health Service. They tested me, and I went straight into quarantine. I was there for over two weeks. It was pretty mentally taxing the whole time.

“I actually got a phone call from the president of Botswana, which was a great surprise.”

I managed to get through it, and through that, I actually got a phone call from the president of Botswana, which was a great surprise. I got a phone call from the president and the ambassador at the time in D.C. I was featured in an article, and somehow it got to them. The ambassador called to check up on me. … He wanted to check if I needed anything. … It definitely changed my whole mood a lot. He’s the one who asked the president to call me. I got a WhatsApp call one morning. I pick up, and it’s the president. He talks about how the whole country is behind me and that he is going to call my family afterwards to tell them I’m OK. It said a lot about Botswana culture and the values that our people have, especially going to a random person who was sick. I felt very blessed.

The (Botswana) culture is centered around community, very focused on community building. It’s not really an individualistic-centered community where one has to achieve success by themselves. It’s very much (that) success is determined by how your family does and how much they are able to help others (and) give back. It’s social and there’s not a lot of hierarchy and division. It’s not a top-down system.

(In the fall) I really looked forward to coming back to Wake, seeing my friends, seeing campus full again. I was delighted to go back to in-person class. I looked forward to going back to a class full of people and raising my hand in class and having discussions with people who were right next to me. I also looked forward to playing soccer again. I’m on the club soccer team, and we didn’t manage to play the whole of last year pretty much. It’s pretty much back to normal, except just wearing masks.


“I’d just finished my biochemistry class upstairs. Heading down, it was a beautiful day outside, closer to when we got the autumn equinox. The weather changed instantly. It was cooler. It was people outside without masks. It brings memories back of what it was before COVID and people’s faces and the beautiful skyline of Winston. It gave me a lot of good memories.” –Kgosi Hughes

“I’m the president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (representing Wake Forest’s historically Black fraternities and sororities and a multicultural organization). We wanted to start off the school year with an event in person. We had Kona Ice and inflatables and food. It was on Manchester Plaza for students to come by. There was a DJ. A big thing with our Greek council — we have our strolls and stepping intrinsic in our culture. Certain songs come on, and you just know, ‘Oh, this is our song,’ and we have a set stroll to it. I think it was ‘Wipe Me Down,’ and that is the song that a lot of the guys in my fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, stroll to. Unfortunately, you can’t see the other side of it, the people watching. There’s a crowd.” –Kgosi Hughes; photo by Riley Herriman (’22)



Katie Fox

  • Portrait of Katie FoxJunior
  • Northville, Michigan
  • Major: History
  • Minor: Schools, education and society

I feel like my work at the Old Gold & Black and also at The Howler (as photo editor) is capturing the history we live through. Last year, online classes and virtual events and masks on campus — that was the theme of our yearbook. This year, President (Susan R.) Wente is definitely an important marker in Wake Forest history, so taking pictures of her at the football games and lots of landmark events on campus I see history all around me.

I was mostly excited to be back and be able to start photographing events again, and I love being able to capture what campus life is like, seeing people excited to reunite with their friends. I was also really excited for coming back to my classes in person, seeing specific people and specific professors. I’m using the same word — excitement — a lot, but that’s really how I could describe it.

My role (as theme program adviser for the Anthony Aston Players House) is fostering community among the (theatre service) organization members. I put on two events every month, theatre-related, in the house. One of the events was for students to see the “Men on Boats” production, so we went as a house. We’ve done a game night and a movie night — we watched “Anastasia,” the musical. We also had a release party for the Lil Nas X album. It came out at midnight on a Thursday, so we had everyone in the living room listening to the songs for the first time.


“I walk past the Chapel around 8 a.m. every day, and I always get that sunrise poking through the pillars. It’s super peaceful. It’s a gorgeous campus to walk around. It gets me in a good mindset for the day, walking to classes and walking to work instead of doing it all remotely.” –Katie Fox

“I set up (my camera) on my dresser. I took it to send to my parents to let them know that I made it there safe because I drove down from Michigan by myself. I lived (in the AAP House) last year by happenstance, and I loved living there so much that I moved back into my same room. I knew exactly where everything was going. I was about to get trained for my role (as program adviser). I also was in charge of designing the roster, so I was getting to know who was going in every room. I moved in early. The house underwent some renovations over the summer. It was super exciting. I also got to start putting up some decorations to welcome people.” –Katie Fox

“That was our first house event of the semester (in the AAP House.) I had everyone over the summer fill out a survey (with) their top three favorite songs, and I put them all into a playlist. I asked them to submit a silly photo and then a nice photo and a little bio. … I had everyone come into the living room and glue together their bios (while their songs played). We have it all hanging on the wall now. If you don’t know who you’re living with, you could learn about them.” –Katie Fox

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