Black History Month Spotlight: Sean Upshaw

To celebrate Black History Month, TXADPR interviewed assistant professor, Dr. Sean Upshaw.

Dr. Upshaw currently teaches Health Communication: Messages, Campaigns, and Media and Digital Graphic Communication, but also offers African American Issues in Advertising and PR. While his research focuses on health disparity and communication in the context of visual information and persuasion. Outside of the classroom, he enjoys looking for the best new restaurants in the area (he highly recommends Culinary Dropout if you are ever near the domain).

Dr. Upshaw prides himself in helping promote diversity not only in his courses, but also in the industry as well. His class African American Issues in Advertising and PR has been recognized to fulfill the cultural and diversity requirement by analyzing the background of the industry through looking at the unsung heroes of advertising that have helped shaped the industry into what it is today. He also works closely to help support students from underrepresented backgrounds through his support of the Stan Richards School's Equity Student Council.

One of his goals while at The University of Texas at Austin is to grow his course in digital and graphic communication to offer students more guidance in the world of graphic design and hopefully expand this course to encompass other creative applications and avenues that can be used to solve problems through a different lens. He believes that creativity should not be confined to one form and the more students can learn about different creative mindsets the better equipped they will be to critically think about robust challenges.

In terms of what Black History Month and the role of diversity means to Dr. Upshaw, this is his advice to students: “You have a place. There is history. There is progress. Your creativity, innovation, and learning can take you far in the industry and transform yourself. Everyone wants that seat at the universal table. Your chances of being successful are just as great as anyone else.

Anna Rivera
Madison Lejeune