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MLK Art & Writing Contest

2022 MLK Art and Writing Contest

To commemorate the life, work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., University of Idaho undergraduates, graduates and professional students enrolled for the 2022 spring semester at any U of I location are invited to create a written work or piece of art in ANY medium of their choice in response to the prompt below about equality and social, racial and ethnic justice.

9th Annual MLK Art and Writing Contest

Theme: "There is another light that shines even in the darkness." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Book, Strength to Love

“To my wife I said, “This is an analogy of what often happens in life.” We have experiences when the light of the day vanishes, leaving us in some dark and desolate midnight – moments when our highest hopes are turned into shambles of despair or when we are the victims of some tragic injustice and some terrible exploitation. During such moments our spirits are almost overcome by gloom and despair, and we feel that there is no light anywhere. But ever and again, we look toward the east and discover that there is another light that shines even in the darkness and “the spear of frustration” is transformed “into a shaft of light.”

Entries Due: Monday, Feb. 14, 2022 by 5:00 p.m.

Written Work: Submit electronically to MLK Contest Chair Ryan Lincoln,

Art Entry: Submit to the Idaho Student Union Building, 302 to Lynsie Clott. For non-Moscow participants, please contact to coordinate submission.

All University of Idaho degree-seeking undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled for the 2022 spring semester at any U of I location are invited to enter. No more than one written work and one art entry per student.

Students must submit a student permission form along with their written work or art piece.

If you have trouble accessing the student permission form, please contact Ryan Lincoln,

Written work (up to 700 words) will be judged on understanding of the topic, original thinking, effectiveness in presenting a personal point of view, literary style, grammar and spelling. Undergraduate and graduate/professional entries will be judged separately.

Art entries will be judged on how they evoke understanding on the part of the observer as to what civil rights issue or event or related message is being presented. Art entries can be submitted in ANY medium and may include an introduction up to 250 words to explain the entry. Undergraduate and graduate/professional entries will be judged separately.

A scholarship will be given to the following:

  • Best undergraduate student written work
  • Best graduate/professional student written work
  • Best undergraduate student art piece
  • Best graduate/professional student art piece

Honorable Mention scholarships will be given as funding allows.

Past Art and Essay Contest Winners

Graduate Writing

  • Winner: Akorede Seriki

Undergraduate Writing

  • Winner: Jose Maciel


  • Winner: Carlie Houn
  • Winner: Anna Young

Graduate Writing

  • Winner: Naomie Pierre-Toussaint – Dear Diary

Undergraduate Writing

  • Winner: Emily Wesseling – Lessons

Graduate Art

  • Winner: Kelsey Grafton – In Light of Our Past

Undergraduate Art

  • Winner: Anna Young – King Leading the People

Graduate Writing

Undergraduate Writing


  • Winner: Candace Sorenson for “The Restraints of Poverty”
  • Honorable Mention: Lexy Jones for “Fight Against Poverty”

Undergraduate Writing

  • 1st prize:  Izaiah Dolezal for his essay "Building a Resilient Community: from 'Me' to 'We'"
  • Honorable Mention: Emily Wesseling for her poem "Somewhere"
  • Honorable Mention: Ayomipo Kayode-Popoola for her poem "Color of My Soul"

Graduate Writing

  • 1st Prize:  Courtney Cooper for her essay "The Value of Relationship in Resilient Water Futures"
  • Honorable Mention:  Alex Sosa for his essay "Together We are Bound, Together We Are Resilient"


  • 1st Prize:  Megan Cosdon for her piece "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"
  • Honorable Mention: Alayne Chipman for "Fires of Opposition"
  • Honorable Mention:  Riley Hilel for "Slain by Sniper" 

Undergraduate Essay

  • Winner: Cruz Rodriguez
  • Honorable Mention: Danny Bugingo

Graduate Essay

  • Co-winner: Alexander Sosa
  • Co-winner: Ashley McDermott


  • Winner: Stacy Miller


  • Co-winner: Geoffrey Dasher
  • Co-winner: Keegan Lawler
  • Honorable Mention: Kelli Fry

Contact Us

Jan Johnson, Chair