STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: TAI Student Kayla Griffis Speaks About Her Academic Experiences and Achievements

I am a junior majoring in Advertising with a specialization in Digital Media Strategy with minors in Graphic Design and Spanish. I’m also participating in the 4+1 SMU Advertising program that allows me to take undergraduate and graduate classes simultaneously in order to obtain bachelor’s and master’s advertising degrees in five years. During the 2018-2019 academic year, I received the following honors:

  • 2019 Dallas Area Alliance for Women in Media Irene Runnels-Paula McStay College Scholarship
  • 2019 Washington Media Scholars Foundation Media Fellows Scholarship
  • SMU Pi Beta Phi Foundation Scholarship
  • SMU Decima Chapter of Mortar Board National Honors Society
  • Finalist for 2019 AAF Vance and Betty Lee Stickell Internship
  • Finalist for 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Internship Program

I applied for these scholarships, internships, and honors societies at the end of the fall semester and was extremely nervous during the application processes because of the programs’ prestige and competitiveness. Managing deadlines, requesting letters of recommendation from professors and mentors, staying on top of daily homework assignments, and studying for tests was no easy feat. Nevertheless, I was determined to submit my applications, in case I wasn’t accepted as a junior, to refine my skills and experiences before becoming a senior.

When I was first notified that I received the 2019 Washington Media Scholars Foundation Media Fellows Scholarship, I was shocked! I couldn’t believe it until I spoke with a representative of the foundation who told me that my application was impressive and well-received. And while this was surprising, receiving two other scholarships–the 2019 Dallas Area Alliance for Women in Media Irene Runnels-Paula McStay College Scholarship and Pi Beta Phi Foundation at SMU Scholarship–was even more overwhelming. Additionally, qualifying for the 2019 AAF Vance and Betty Lee Stickell Internship and the 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Internship Program were both amazing opportunities, though I ultimately decided to participate in the 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Internship Program because of its focus to promote inclusion and diversity in the advertising industry. I am very passionate about this. My induction into the SMU Decima Chapter of Mortar Board National Honors Society is a privilege in itself and I am grateful to be a part of this organization that recognizes leadership, community service, and scholarship among students. As a 2019 MAIP Fellow, I will work at Digitas in Boston as a Media Buying and Planning intern this upcoming summer and am extremely excited.

SMU Advertising has provided me with amazing opportunities to network with professionals and connect with my peers as we prepare for future careers in the advertising industry. I hope to help foster a world where minorities are celebrated and accurately represented. I believe that I will make a difference in the industry, as a voice for minorities, and receiving these honors is just the beginning.

Kayla Griffis

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: TAI Student Rani Vestal Shares about the Graphic Design Minor

Did you know that you can minor in graphic design at SMU? SMU Advertising offers this minor to provide students with a basic understanding and development of skills necessary for design across all media.

I’m currently a junior and always knew that I wanted a creative career – I just didn’t know what it could be. So when I declared my English major in Dedman College as a sophomore, due to my love of writing and literature, I also considered minoring in other disciplines to figure out what I wanted to do in the real world. When I searched through the latest course catalog, I was most intrigued by the Typography class because I love art and fonts. However, I couldn’t take it because I needed to 1) declare the graphic design minor and 2) take three prerequisite classes. With limited Photoshop and Illustrator experience, I met with Cheryl, declared the minor and enrolled in Creative Production. My minors now include history, Spanish, and graphic design. They surprisingly fuse together nicely.

The graphic design minor is unique because it unites students from a variety of majors including the three advertising tracks, studio art and English. We all have different creative interests from 90s album covers to pop art which manifest in our work. I love the classes when we collectively critique design roughs because my peers’ feedback is always valuable and respectful – this ultimately pushes me to better my deigns. I also find it fascinating that we can be given the same project guidelines and produce utterly different, yet equally compelling, work. After taking the same courses these last few years, we’ve really bonded and come to understand each other’s styles in a small graphic design “cohort.” 

I’ve almost completed the fourth and final prerequisite of the minor, and am eager to begin taking elective courses. However, the prerequisites were valuable and here’s why:

  • Creative Production (ADV 1360)
    This class taught me essential keyboard shortcuts in the Adobe Creative Suite which immediately expedited my design process. Having previously learned the programs by myself, these tricks were seriously ground-breaking and make me feel like a design wizard. 
  • Word and Image, Art and Design: 1900-Present (ADV 2323)
    This was also right up my alley because it merges two of my favorite subjects: history and graphic design. I still reference the textbook from this class for inspiration because it streamlines historic design samples from cave art in Lascaux, France to postmodern Pee-wee Herman (my latest rediscovery is Lester Beall).
  • Introduction to Graphic Design (ADV 3323)
    I really enjoyed this course because I finally began integrating my knowledge of software and design into class projects. Seeing my personal work in print for the first time, instead of work for a client, was electrifying. I enjoyed learning color theory and creating packaging design for a Monster 826 coffee company.
  • Typography (3361)
    The course I’ve been waiting for! We hit the ground running this semester and dove into typeface classification, calligraphy and more. So far, I’ve prototyped a bitmap typeface and created album art for an angry Aztec band (Spanish + graphic design unite!). By this point, we’re all sort of “type geeks” and I love that we can identify and criticize typefaces together.

Despite my liberal arts major, the minor has helped me land a few advertising internships. Working at SLANT Partners in Downtown Dallas refined my professional skills because I learned how to gracefully correspond with clients. And the skills I developed through the graphic design classes also allowed me to work on real client projects including the brand development of a local philanthropic bakery. I now intern for the Temerlin Advertising Institute which has helped me meet more SMU Advertising faculty and learn about local networking opportunities. Because of this, I feel more connected to the school and industry alike.

If you’re considering the minor or are already enrolled in related courses, I encourage you to explore personal creative projects just for fun. The time you spend ‘playing’ is when you can really discover and develop your unique creative style. I spend much of my free time developing websites and animating graphics because those opportunities interest me but have not yet presented themselves in my courses. I also believe that I’m happier and more confident in my design skills through personal creative outlets because there’s no client or GPA pressure.

I’m excited to launch my creative career as a graphic designer after I graduate which would not be possible without the knowledge and experience I’ve acquired through the graphic design classes. I hope to work for a creative agency that specializes in digital, branding and packaging design. I’ve also considered freelancing before I eventually open up my own coffee shop… stay tuned.

Click here to learn more about the graphic design minor and course offerings.

Graphic Panel of CD Insert
Branding for Personal Podcast
Magazine Layout for Boaz Commons
Physical Representation of Bitmap Typeface

 

Rani Vestal

AWARDS: TAI Student Alissa Llort Selected As One Of AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Students

Alissa Llort

This year I was selected as one of the 50 Most Promising Multicultural Students in the United States. This program was created by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) to immerse dedicated, multicultural students in the advertising industry before graduation. After being selected, I was invited to attend a 5-day conference in New York City. This was a unique experience for me because I visited the offices of various elite agencies and media companies including Wieden + Kennedy, Turner / CNN, Omnicom Group, Sparks and Honey, 72 and Sunny, McCann, FCB, and FCB Health, and IPG. During the visits, I spoke to advertising professionals and recruiters about agency culture, personal and professional experiences, and advocacy for multicultural talent in the industry.

Because this incredible opportunity unites hardworking students from different backgrounds across the country, I was able to connect with 49 students and learn from their experiences in advertising so far. I value these connections because together we are the future generation of advertisers and may work for the same companies someday. I am extremely grateful to have been selected for this opportunity and I encourage all multicultural students to apply next year.

To end, I wanted to share some of the pearls of wisdom that I collected from this trip:

  • “School is never out, keep reading and learning!”
  • “Fear is the indicator you are ready.”
  • “As you enter the professional career, choose several mentors that are not like you and learn from them.”
  • “Speak up. You will never regret speaking up and saying what you think.”
  • And the quote that struck me the most: “If you are here, you have earned it. It is not a matter of luck. Be proud of that and embrace your achievements.“

SXSW: Realself // House of Modern Beauty

Charlotte Cutts & Noemie Mwanzuzi

The road to SXSW was different for all of us. Some of us got here Thursday others drove early Friday morning and one of us unfortunately was under the weather.

While the first two days were filled with long walks and  sessions like Designing better ecosystems, Advertising detox, and design thinking in practice we woke up early to finally see what all the hype was about realself/ House of modern beauty.

Upon arriving there was a wait but badges had priority. We signed a disclosure form and entered the house to explore. The RealSelfHouse of Modern Beauty offers consultations and treatments of Dysport, Emsculpt, HydraFacial, Invisalign, Natrelle, Restylane, SkinCeutical, TempSure Envi, and Vivace. Various assistants of the brand, dressed in Millennial Pink, approached us and discussed the benefits of each procedure and service. Surgeons and service providers were readily available to answer any questions. Walking through the house there were displays of success stories from procedures. We saw some travel sized goods and mistakenly thought we could get them. As we progressed through the house into the backyard there is a cute little bar covered in vines and dressed with pink flowers. Very chic and modern. Further into the backyard there were make shift  tents with women getting procedures done as well as a stage for beauty panels through out the day.

Overall, the activation was clean, bright, feminine, and youthful! The procedures appear to be very professional and trustworthy. 10/10 would recommend.

SXSW: 4 the Win Win

Alex Lily and Rosendo Martinez

The power of social good and corporate consciousness is a rising trend at South by, so much so that it has merited its own track “Social & Global Impact”. Regardless, it has been evident in almost every panel. People want to get behind brands that positively impact the community and the world, and it is important, now more than ever, that brands become beacons of positive change.

Throughout the conference, videos of Elon Musk saying, “you should not just focus on fixing something, work on something that inspires.” This has become a clear motto for SXSW, as people focus on not only acquiring new customers and growth but also making an impactful social and environmental change to the world in which they work; thus, a win win for everyone.

In Rohit Bhargava’s discussion of his book 7 Non-Obvious Trends Changing the Future in 2019, he explored the trend “enterprise empathy”, which positions businesses to showcase their involvement in the community and connect with customers on an emotional level. One example he gave, is that of the supermarket industry in the UK in which grocers like Tesco offer slower lanes and quiet hours so that customers with specific mental and health needs can shop in comfort and at leisure. Thus, they were able to tap into an underserved market and change the daily lives of their communities by making grocery shopping more accessible for all. By tackling the problem emphatically, companies are able to better strengthen their mission, engage with customers, and find new avenues for growth.
In a fireside chat with Christopher Gavigan, the co-founder and chief purpose officer at The Honest Co., and Nina Montgomery, the author of Perspectives on Impact and Perspectives on Purpose, aptly titled, “Moving Beyond the Buzz of Purpose & Impact”, both discussed the struggle of businesses and social enterprises to tackle and hold on to purpose in a meaningful way. Both said that it was evident that social impact as the purpose of a company is great driver of growth and brand engagement but it is critical that companies ingrain this purpose in to the entire culture and strategy of the business. You have to “show up in a meaningful way” in order to create a “global and iconic brand”.


During the Bumble brand activation called the HIVE SXSW in which they took over Jo’s Coffee, each corporate employee passionately referred to the social mission of empowering women. Clearly, this purpose is deeply ingrained to the cultural foundation. It is reaffirmed in each and every way the brand grows, even so that expansion into India challenged the company to culturally adapt by ensuring women’s safety.

When companies have a mission and become champions of social improvements, they strengthen from the inside out. SXSW once again empowers executives, employees, and innovators to gear their companies to become leaders of positive social and global impact, a win win for everyone.

AWARDS: TAI Students Featured in CMYK Magazine

After a seven-year hiatus, CMYK Magazine is back in publication and better than ever with its first fully digital issue featuring nine Temerlin Advertising students as award winners. This means that more than half of the winners in the Advertising category are TAI students. Congratulations!

SILVER Medal* // Art Direction & Copy
COSTCO / “Prepared for anything.”
Gaelle Gachelin, AD/CW
Anna Rose Corell, AD/CW

HomeAdvisor / “Bridging the gap between you and home repair.”
Anna Rose Corell, AD/CW

Anger Room / “Lose your Cool. Keep your security deposit.”
Megan Cruikshank, AD
Graceley Todd, CW

Instacart / “Groceries delivered fast.”
Isaac Cordova, AD/CW

Sun Bum Sunscreen / “Get out there.”
Ellie Pace, AD/CW
Charlie O’Brien, AD/CW

BIC / “Light your way.”
Abby Coon, AD/CW
Madi Castellano, AD/CW

ALUMNI UPDATE: Amy Cooley ’18

I came to SMU and wanted to be a theater major. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out. At the beginning of my freshman year, I asked myself, “what can I study that still allows me to be surrounded by unique, creative, and thought-provoking people?” Luckily, I found Advertising which allowed me to think creatively, problem-solve, and exhibit my presentation skills acquired from experience in theater. I also majored in Spanish which helped me learn more about other cultures.  This better positioned me to navigate the world advertising because I can understand and interact with people who speak different languages.

After being accepted into the TAI Strategic Brand Management program, I met with my academic advisor. She told me about Dieste, a multicultural advertising agency in Dallas. After that conversation, my goal was to work for Dieste because it fuses my two majors and celebrates the diversity of every person.

I was hired as a Project Manager at Dieste after I graduated in May. In my opinion, the project manager is one of the most valuable positions to have at an agency. I oversee the strategic process from start to finish and interact with every department that is involved with the project (e.g. creative production, financials, brand leadership). I am now knowledgeable of the departments’ goals so I can empathize with them and better understand their needs. This will help me in the future as I continue to navigate different fields in advertising.

I cannot speak more highly of TAI and the faculty because they prepared me for my first professional role in Advertising. My brand management classes taught me how to think strategically, how to strengthen brands, and how to manage specific daily tasks. My ethics course helped me view the world through different cultural perspectives and understand the ethical responsibility in advertising. And although I was not enrolled in the Creative Advertising program, the Introduction to Creativity course prepared me for the wonderful weirdness that I experience among the creatives on my team. Finally, my two years of experience on Ad Team solidified what I had learned. I exemplified my project management skills as the Team Director and provided prospective employers with a printed plan book, visual and textual proof of my professional skills. I was confident in my interview with Dieste but I believe that the book sealed the deal.

I encourage current TAI students to embrace the department, the faculty, and the programs it offers (like Ad Team *wink*). While actually working in the field leverages your professional experience, TAI gets you there as close as possible. Additionally, I encourage you to embrace your niche. Continue to pursue your passions. Working at Dieste has further emphasized the importance of embracing cultures. Beyond ethnicity and heritage, the unique interests of people become parts of their culture. As advertisers, the better we can understand everyone’s interests, the better we can connect them to the brands we represent.

ALUMNI UPDATE: Lucas Crespo ’18

I graduated with degrees in Creative Advertising and Film and Media Arts. Both majors involve conceptual thinking and storytelling. I am thankful that these areas of study are both in the Meadows School of the Arts. I utilized the school’s film equipment and knowledge from my production classes to build my advertising portfolio. Furthermore, my two respective but connected majors allowed me to focus my four years as an undergraduate student on the art and science of storytelling. 
 
During my senior year, I applied to over forty advertising agencies across the United States. Temerlin’s excellent professors, curriculum, and networking opportunities helped me secure a position as the art direction intern at BBDO in New York City. This is the first time that I have worked in a large agency with prominent clients. So far, the experience has been overwhelming but worth every second.

ALUMNI UPDATE: Jolie Guz ’18

You never know where a single Instagram contest will take you. For me, one little Instagram post allowed me to present an elevator pitch to Scott Belsky, Chief Product Development Officer of Adobe. He basically makes all creative careers possible. That elevator pitch won me a trip to Adobe MAX,  an annual creative conference. During this three-day conference in Los Angeles, four thousand art directors, designers, and typeface enthusiasts join together and dive deeper into the software that makes our jobs possible. We tested out new features, listened to industry leaders, and nabbed a TON of free stuff (my favorite freebie was an ACTUAL type specimen! It’s a little metal piece of a letterpress that came in a tiny labeled test tube. SO COOL!). The conference encouraged me to get outside of my laptop and appreciate all the awesomeness of design and how it brings together incredibly interesting people and projects.

I recently graduated from TAI in May but my SMU experience has given me the warmest welcome into the real world. I work with several former TAI rockstars at BBDO in New York –  several of whom were in my own cohort! I also still bother my professors even though I’m no longer in their classes (Sorry Mark for de-railing your Advanced Portfolio class a couple weeks ago!). My education didn’t stopped when I left the classroom. The foundation of skills that I learned at TAI gave me the confidence to enter the art direction world wholeheartedly. My professors taught me that it’s always okay to ask questions and to seek advice from trusted friends and colleagues to strengthen my work.

Scott said it best in his opening keynote presentation on the first day of MAX: “The best way to learn to create is by seeing how others create.” TAI allowed me to learn from and alongside some of my favorite creative minds and I feel endlessly grateful for that opportunity.

Oh, and I’m grateful for Instagram contests too!

Instagram Submission Graphics

ALUMNI UPDATE: Alex Mackillop ’18

During my four years at SMU, I majored in Strategic Brand Management through the Temerlin Advertising Institute and minored in business and international studies. I have had several internships and my most recent position, before securing a job in Dallas, was with M&C Saatchi PR Worldwide in London.

My studies at Temerlin helped me obtain this internship position. I learned how to market myself for professional opportunities – an invaluable skill that all students should master as early as possible. Temerlin also taught me how to behave in a professional environment and how to respond to real world, real life, and real job situations.

My responsibilities at M&C Saatchi PR in London encompassed a wide range of activities. I wrote press releases, attended influencer events, and initiated one of the biggest energy drink activations in Europe. I worked with multi-national multi-billion-dollar companies including Red Bull and Foot Locker.

Currently, I am employed at another globally leading PR firm, Weber Shandwick, which is located in the Dallas American Airlines Center.

Temerlin not only prepared me to know the acronyms people use in meetings and to meet deadlines, but also how to position myself professionally, how to be successfully interact with clients and colleagues, and how to market myself in this industry.

This is my advice for current Temerlin students: don’t wait for the job hunt. I encourage you to secure an internship as soon as possible because all experience is good experience. I had five internships in college and I believe that I now work at Weber Shandwick because of this extensive experience. Oh, and also listen to your professors. One day, you might need to know what they taught you.