Today@Sam Article

Census Bureau Director Visits SHSU

Feb. 15, 2024
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd


Sam Houston State University recently hosted Robert Santos, the director of the U. S. Census Bureau in a special visit to encourage collaboration between the nation’s foremost data scientists and universities across Texas.

Santos was able to connect with SHSU through the help of Melinda Holt the interim dean of the College of Science and Engineering technology who, like Santos, is a member of the American Statistical Association (ASA). After he expressed interest in visiting SHSU, Holt worked with Kay Angrove, director of First Year Experience and Student Success, to connect with groups across campus interested in meeting with Santos and his team.

As a former president of the ASA, Santos would write newsletters for members which, according to Holt, often centered on the importance of building and uplifting communities.

“One article that he wrote was about how important it was to not just be a mentor to someone, but to be their guardian angel and really take someone under your wing to help build their future,” Holt said. “That’s just the kind of person that he is, and I knew that he would be motivational to students and faculty.”

The result was a packed day for the Census Bureau team. From a taped interview with students in the mass communications department, to lunch with data science students and various meetings with campus leadership, Santos and his colleagues got a taste SHSU and all that it offers to students.

Two particular points of interest for the special visitors were the First Generation Center and meeting with the ELITE/evolve programs. As a first-generation student himself, Santos has a passion for helping students who are the first in their families to pursue higher education.

Another part of Santos’ goal of establishing connections with Texas colleges is a memorandum of agreement with SHSU to offer students and faculty a chance to learn from census data experts on how to navigate and utilize the plethora of information that the bureau collects. By creating local experts on the data, it is Santos’s hope that the students and faculty researchers will use their knowledge to benefit local research and economic development.

To learn more about Santos and his goals for his partnerships and for the Census Bureau, watch the following video interview produced by the Department of Mass Communications.

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