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Bates Picks Top Creative Students

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Leonardo Santos has won the $5,000 grand prize in Bates Worldwide's "The Mother of All Portfolio Contests."

Work by the March 2001 graduate of Atlanta's Portfolio Center was rated "most exceptional" by the Bates judges, who evaluated books from 65 students.

Southeastern students dominated among the runners-up. Portfolio Center students Irwina Liaw and Mike Hanley, Andrew Dilallo of the Creative Circus in Atlanta and Santiago Mussfeldt from the Miami Ad School each won digital cameras.

Santos, 27, earned a B.A. degree in social communications and advertising from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. "My work is usually simple," Santos said. "I tend to go for a visual solution."

Bates Worldwide creative director John Fawcett established the contest this year as a way of encouraging the next generation. "Our motives were honorable," Fawcett said. "But yes, now we know where the good ones are coming from."

Fawcett described Santos' book as fresh and professional. "The ideas show a lot of lateral thinking," he said. "He hasn't been conditioned by years of research and briefs."

Has the winner won a job? Not yet. Santos said he will spend his prize money on an immigration lawyer. "I've been offered jobs," he said, "but can't take anything until the paperwork is finished."