IDEAS Academy Activities 2018-19

Alief Early College High School

quote-white  "How can we inspire youth engagement in the 2020 Census to erase the undercount in Houston?" City of Houston Mayor's Office, Erase the Undercount Challenge


About This Cohort

In Spring 2019, Mayor Sylvester Turner challenged HCC students to design ways to inspire schools and communities to participate in the upcoming 2020 Decennial Census and help erase Houston's historic undercount. Full participation in the Census would provide billions in additional federal funding and increase the number of elective representatives in the region.

IDEAS Academy's Alief Early College High School students accepted the challenge and worked throughout the semester to develop communication strategies targeted at specific populations, including youth aged 14-19, international residents, and minority communities. Using a design thinking approach, the conducted surveys at community events and on their campus, conducted research using past Census data, developed personas to test their ideas, and finally developed a campaign "Make Youth Count!" that they kicked off with an event for their school in May 2019.

The excitement around their intiative led to opportunities to continue development of the campaign over the summer of 2019 and into the next academic year with internship opportunities for several students in the cohort through the city and local grants. Their campaign has been recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau as well as the City of Houston. Like many planned activities for 2020, the pandemic affected their ability to realize their goal to engage across Alief ISD campuses, but they pivoted to a virtual campaign using their website and social media platforms to continue their work through the end of the 2020 Census Count.

Faculty Facilitators
  • Jordan Carswell, Program Director, IDEAS Academy
  • Alexandra Almestica, Public Services Librarian, HCC Libraries


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IDEAS Academy

Jordan Carswell

West Houston Institute

2811 Hayes Rd., Houston, TX 77082