Tell us your story in six words: that’s what UAB undergraduate, graduate, professional (Medicine, Dentistry and Optometry) and nondegree students and postdoctoral fellows were challenged to do for UAB Graduate School’s inaugural Say It In 6 competition. Participants submitted an image and six words depicting any story they wanted to tell –about their life, their experiences, things they love or have learned. The possibilities were endless!

The Graduate School received 187 creative, moving entries from UAB students and postdoctoral fellows. Images ranged from photographs to drawings and paintings that all complemented their six-word stories perfectly.

Judges picked a finalist and an honorable mention for each category, which was no easy task. The categories were knowledge, UAB, America, identity, talents, humor, resilience, family, health, and love. The first and second place winners were chosen by the judges from the category finalists, and the UAB community voted online to pick a People’s Choice winner. These top three winners received cash prizes: $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place, and $500 for People’s Choice.

Finalists’ entries were displayed in the 2017 Say It In 6 Reception at Abroms-Engel Institute for Visual Arts (AEIVA) on April 14. Entries will soon be moved to the Hill Student Center where they will be displayed in a permanent Say It In 6 section, which will feature the current year’s winning entries.

First Place

Nada Al-AssiPicked a great year to travel. Category: Humor | By Nada Al-Assi

This year’s first-place winner — Nada Al-Assi, a sophomore in Public Health — almost didn’t participate because she thought it would be impossible for her to tell a meaningful story using six words and an image. Fortunately, she took on the challenge. Nada had planned to travel this year to see her extended family for the first time in six years. However the executive order that President Trump signed in early 2017 blocking U.S. entry to people from six countries — which some have called the “Muslim Ban” — created uncertainty for the hijab-clad traveler. Instead of being discouraged, Nada saw the irony in the situation, which inspired her to submit an entry to create a dialogue about the issue. “I think that it is important to be able to laugh about something bigger and darker than most people think, while also getting more people to talk about the issue,” Nada says. “If I don't find humor, then all there would be is fear, and although something such as traveling to see my family can be much harder simply by what I choose to wear, I still refuse to let fear stop me from doing things everyone has the right to do.” She was pleasantly surprised that so many people understood and appreciated her entry’s message. During the reception, Nada was delighted to speak with people about her entry and the story behind it.

Second place

Tyler FurgersonBelieve there is good in Bham. Category: Love | By Tyler Furgerson

Second place went to Tyler Furgerson, a graduate-level nondegree student who works as a graphic designer in the UAB School of Medicine. In his job and beyond, Tyler uses designs, messages and photography to tell stories and inspire others. The beauty of design, he says, is taking a complicated message and making it simple and easy to understand. In his Say It In 6 entry, he tackled the large and complex topic of Birmingham in six simple but impactful words. “If you look at the big picture, you can see there is a lot of good happening in our community,” Tyler says. “You see hurting people being helped. You see old neighborhoods being restored to vibrant life. However, when you focus in, you see the “you” and the “I” in community. It takes each of us doing more than just believing there is good, and this message serves as a reminder that we should serve our community every day, even in the smallest ways.”

People's Choice

Ryan HaddenUAB to MD, green bears fruit. Category: Knowledge | By Ryan Hadden
Ryan Hadden is the People’s Choice winner. Say It In 6 allowed him to “sum up my time at UAB, while acknowledging and giving thanks to the guidance provided by those who have helped me along the way.” He worked as a medical illustrator for a medical board review company in order to avoid the out-of-state tuition cost of attending UAB after moving from his home state of Oregon. He contributed several illustrations that were published in 2016 edition of First Aid for the USMLE Step 1, a board-review book. One of those images was his Say It In 6 submission. “The image highlighted the intricacies of placental blood flow,” Ryan says. “I added a green hue to represent UAB.” UAB has been like a mother providing essential nutrients that a fetus (or, in this case, a student) requires to survive and grow into a medical doctor and eventually become a professional medical illustrator. Being a medical illustrator, Ryan can “give back to the medical community through the creation of technical images for an internationally acclaimed board-review book.” Ryan enjoyed this competition because students from various backgrounds can share their story in a way that tests “wit and challenge[s] you to eloquently and repeatedly evoke the imagery that you intend.”


See the 2017 category finalists and honorable mentions below, and check out all 187 entries at http://www.uab.edu/graduate/6-submissions. Say It In 6 will return in Spring 2018! Watch out for details during the beginning of that semester.

Finalist | She woke to realize she wasn't.

Finalist | She woke to realize she wasn't.

by Sherrie Alexander | category: America
Honorable Mention | America is a paradox of paradise.

Honorable Mention | America is a paradox of paradise.

by Elijah E. Davis | category: America
Finalist | Disrupting poverty's cycle begins with knowledge.

Finalist | Disrupting poverty's cycle begins with knowledge.

by Fabrice Stanley Julien | category: knowledge
Honorable Mention |The chaos hidden inside the mind

Honorable Mention |The chaos hidden inside the mind

by Jakayla Robinson | category: knowledge
Finalist | Not pre-med anymore, but still successful.

Finalist | Not pre-med anymore, but still successful.

by Gerrie Lim | category: UAB
Honorable Mention | UAB let me see the world!

Honorable Mention | UAB let me see the world!

by Jayde Sherron | category: UAB
Tie for finalist | We are all the same biorhythm

Tie for finalist | We are all the same biorhythm

by Cima Khademi | category: identity
Tie for finalist | I belong here. I belong everywhere.

Tie for finalist | I belong here. I belong everywhere.

by Katy-Joy Vaughan | category: identity
Finalist | Things taste better from our hands.

Finalist | Things taste better from our hands.

by Emily Haynes McGee | category: talents
Honorable Mention | Calm the storm; quiet the waves

Honorable Mention | Calm the storm; quiet the waves

by Manuela Jojoa-Portilla | category: talents
Finalist | Picked a great year to travel.

Finalist | Picked a great year to travel.

by Nada Al-Assi | category: humor
Honorable Mention | Not as smart as I thought

Honorable Mention | Not as smart as I thought

by Will Webb | category: humor
Resilience

Resilience

Finalist | You are not what he did.

Finalist | You are not what he did.

by Karly Casey | category: resilience
Honorable Mention | THERE IS ABILITY IN EVERY DISABILITY

Honorable Mention | THERE IS ABILITY IN EVERY DISABILITY

by Niranjan Gowda | category: resilience
Finalist | A wall can't destroy our love

Finalist | A wall can't destroy our love

by Ramiro Bautista | category: family
Honorable Mention | Sister's suicide note,

Honorable Mention | Sister's suicide note, "continuing family tradition".

by Michael Williams | category: family
Finalist | Half Lives Make Whole Lives Possible...

Finalist | Half Lives Make Whole Lives Possible...

by Krystle W. Glasgow | category: health
Honorable Mention | Cancer: took her and my heart.

Honorable Mention | Cancer: took her and my heart.

by Lauren Young | category: health
Finalist | Believe there is good in Bham

Finalist | Believe there is good in Bham

by Tyler Furgerson | category: love
Honorable Mention | I needed it more than him.

Honorable Mention | I needed it more than him.

by Sarah Kathryn Burk | category: love