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University of Alabama at Birmingham rising junior, Rishab Samant, won first place in the UABRishab SamantRishab Samant with his winning design, which is displayed in four design variations. Honors College Art Contest and received the $500 Dean’s Scholarship Award. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in cancer biology with plans to enroll in the accelerated bachelor’s/master’s (ABM) program to pursue a Master of Public Health in the fall.

“Receiving the Honors College Dean's Scholarship and placing first in the art competition was such an exciting surprise,” Samant said. “Because of the scholarship, I now have flexibility to engage in avenues centered in Public Health and Medicine that I would otherwise not be able to focus on. To me, the scholarship and placing first are testaments to UAB's commitment to support student interests.”

For Samant, creating art is a hobby that he can “feel attached to and proud of,” while serving as an escape mechanism for relaxation from his STEM-related coursework. He often uses his family in the review process of his artwork for improvements to incorporate in the final design. “My hope with each piece I make is that others will feel the same connection I do,” Samant said. “Spending time to create art provides a path to craft something beyond school commitments.”

Rishab Samant and Dean Shannon BlantonRishab Samant and Dean Shannon Blanton with the Honors College Art Contest and Dean's Scholarship Certificate“We encourage our students to pursue their passions and interests through different forms of creative activity that may extend beyond their majors,” said Shannon L. Blanton, Ph.D., dean of the UAB Honors College. “Rishab is one our many talented students who used his passion for art to create a thoughtful design that is inspired by his time at UAB and the connections he’s made along the way.”

Samant’s selected design features a reimagining of Blaze the Dragon, along with the Honors College mantra, “Set Your World On Fire.” The design also includes the two dedicated honors spaces, Honors Hall and Spencer Honors House, as well as prominent campus buildings on campus. “I wanted to showcase the wealth of undergraduate education at UAB, which has expanded immensely over the past few decades, by highlighting some key landmarks and buildings: University Hall, Heritage Hall, and even the Recreation Center,” Samant said. “I also hoped to draw focus to Honors Hall and the Spencer Honors House, two learning bases for Honors College students. By doing this, I aimed to better link incoming Honors students with UAB, their new educational home.”

Every spring, honors students are encouraged to submit designs for an opportunity to display their artwork on materials for the Honors College New Student Retreat, a three-day event that welcomes incoming first-year honors students through different sessions and activities. The Student Mentor and Retreat Team (SMART) Leaders reviewed and selected the final design.

Although Samant has not participated in formal art classes, he plans to continue his passion for creating art by publishing future pieces with intentional and impactful messaging in different journals and competitions. In the near future, he hopes to collaborate with UAB Arts in Medicine on potential initiatives that focuses on various forms of art. “Ideally, these initiatives would be utilized within a healthcare setting, helping navigate the diverse pathways of patient care through comprehensive and creative engagement,” Samant said.

News & Stories

  • Alabama Space Grant Consortium & NASA EPSCoR awards scholarships and fellowships to nine UAB students
  • Honors students selected to present original research at national conference
  • Samant wins annual UAB Honors College art contest, receives Dean’s Scholarship Award
  • Two UAB physics graduates selected for National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships

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