Public Health Undergraduate Student Wins UAB Say It in 6

Karjiana Cadet

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.

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.

Nada's winning six word phrase.

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