posters on display at Mountaintop

The 41 submissions were on display at the Mountaintop Campus.

‘Say it In Six’: A Celebration of Graduate Students’ Experiences

The competition attracted 41 submissions in the categories of Make it New, Make it Together and Make a Difference.

Photography by

Jenn Lindley

Graduate school brings a heavy course load and constant learning, leaving students to sometimes forget the importance of self-reflection. Say it in Six, a competition hosted by Lehigh’s Graduate Life Office, tackled this by asking students to share their graduate school experiences and passions in a six word memoir paired with a picture.

On March 27 on the Mountaintop Campus, the 41 submissions were displayed at a gallery reception. The event highlighted the three themed categories—Make it New, Make it Together and Make a Difference—as well as each category's winners and an overall winner.

This year marked the third year of Say it in Six. Last held virtually in 2021, the theme had focused on student resilience during the pandemic. This year, the theme connected to the university’s strategic plan, Inspiring the Future Makers.

Kathleen Hutnik, associate deputy provost for graduate education, emphasized the event’s ability to remind graduate students of their “why” and bring them back to the “bigger picture” of their studies.

winning entry in poster contest

Engineering graduate student Taryn Ross won top prize for “Today a beam, tomorrow a skyscraper.”

Engineering graduate student Taryn Ross secured the top overall prize of $500 with her entry of “Today a beam, tomorrow a skyscraper.” Her image featured her in a hard hat working with a beam.

Alex Kash's impactful phrase, "Messy world needs data scientists," won first place in the Make a Difference category. Each category winner received $100, with the two honorable mentions per category receiving $50 each.

Hutnick said the selection criteria focused on the creative interpretation of the theme, the synergy between picture and words, and the ability to evoke an emotional response. A committee of the graduate associate deans made the final selections, with the deputy provost for graduate education acting as a tiebreaker. Attendees were also able to vote on which submissions were their favorite.

winning poster

Artemiza Martinez took home the first-place prize in the Make it New category. with her submission, "Ascend with passion, conquer with purpose."

Artemiza Martinez, a fifth-year biological sciences student, took home the first-place prize in the Make it New category.

Her submission, "Ascend with passion, conquer with purpose," included a photo of her working on a computer while suspended from a rock climbing wall. The submission combined two things she loves: climbing and being a student.

“I wanted to combine something that I love with my other passions,” Martinez said.

First place in the Make it Together category went to Katy Kithcart, who created an image including nine boxes with a different person in each, enhanced with colorful drawings. Her six words were “Counseling/ making friends while making change.”

Tulia Malik, a third-year biological sciences student, resonated with the Make it Together theme through her submission. Her phrase was centered around traveling with friends, as her six words were “Backpack the world together, stay together” with a picture of her friends backpacking in Vietnam.

“One of my passions is traveling, and it has been getting me through graduate school,” Malik said.

Other submissions included highlighting people who have helped them along the way.

Emily Ankrom's "Grateful you always believe in me" depicted two shadows holding hands, highlighting the importance of support systems. Some also showcased other activities outside of graduate school, including Aika Aluc’s of “Cycling through endless seasons of change” and Stephanie Hand’s of “Teacher at Saucon, student at Lehigh.”

Each category boasted first-place winners and honorable mentions. "From lab bench to global" under Make a Difference and "Major life adjustments, same Lehigh pride" in Make it New were two that garnered recognition.

Story by Jenn Lindley

Read more stories on the Lehigh News Center.

Photography by

Jenn Lindley

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