Texas Creative Student Highlight: Elizabeth Mendoza
Texas Creative is the official creative advertising portfolio program within the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Texas at Austin. Every semester, students apply to this renowned program to hone their copywriting and art direction skills while working on campaigns for various brands and building their portfolios. I had the opportunity to interview Elizabeth Mendoza, an advertising graduate student who is currently in her second semester at Texas Creative. She is a copywriter enrolled in Portfolio II and plans to advance to the Portfolio III class next semester.
When I asked Elizabeth if it was always her intention to be a Texas Creative student when applying to earn her master’s degree, she enthusiastically expressed that this is the main reason she was interested in attending UT Austin. While doing extensive research of all the programs UT has to offer, she discovered Texas Creative, and knew it was exactly the type of program she was looking for. Elizabeth shared that, “I loved the idea of a program that focused on working solely on campaigns that I could show future employers.” While keeping in mind that there is an application process for Texas Creative after being accepted into the advertising master’s program, Elizabeth remained hopeful and excited about the opportunity. Elizabeth was accepted to the program for the Fall of 2022 and started out as a Portfolio I student at the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year.
Over the course of her two semesters spent in Texas Creative so far, Elizabeth’s favorite aspect of the program has been selecting the brands she works on. She said that “I know that’s not what will happen in the real world, so it’s great that I get to create work for companies and brands that I’m interested in.” Overall, she also enjoys the freedom to be as creative as she wants. One campaign that Elizabeth worked on where she was able to be especially creative was for Play-Doh in her Portfolio I class last fall. In this campaign, she and her creative partner cleverly reimagined the famous modeling dough intended for children as an outlet for adults to play with when they are feeling angry.
Like any application process, applying to Texas Creative takes time and effort, but also clever, creative out-of-the-box thinking. I asked Elizabeth what her advice would be to students who are thinking of applying to the program, and she was able to share some insight.
“Have fun with it but still take your time with the application. Don’t try to do it all in one sitting or day. The execution is not as important as the idea, so make sure that it’s clear. I think what makes a successful application is a unique perspective and the ability to show your personality. Show them the potential you have to create new ideas.”
Elizabeth also had some great advice for current Portfolio I students who are preparing for their first critique. At the end of every semester, Texas Creative students get the opportunity to have their work critiqued by judges who are often seasoned creative advertising professionals. While this is an exciting time, it can also be nerve-wracking.
“They aren’t trying to tear down your work. They might not have the same context that you, your partner, or your professor might have for the brand and the insight you’ve come up with. They’re coming in from a different perspective and it’s not right or wrong, it’s just theirs. You have to choose what you want to take from their critique and how you want to apply it to your work. It’s an opportunity for a professional to look at your work and tell you their genuine thoughts on how you can improve and it’s worth taking advantage of.”
Lastly, Elizabeth shared how Texas Creative is already helping her in her professional life.
“I’ve learned how to find insights within each brand and that research is just as important as being creative. I’ve learned to write multiple drafts and create different concepts for multiple brands. These skills have helped me develop creative content for the current job I have as Social Media Lead and it’s improved my writing skills in my other classes and communication with my jobs.”