Throughout the 2020-2021 academic year, our organization devised a research-driven public education campaign to help members of the U.S. university community expand higher education pathways for forcibly displaced students. This project aimed to forge a community of university student advocates, provide a platform for students of forced migrant status to use their voices and inform policy action, provide written guidelines and resources based on existing higher education pathways in the U.S. so that best practices can be replicated, and promote awareness of refugee issues. SVR members progressed these objectives through their participation in two working groups, one of which conducted research on mentorship pathways while the other focused on scholarship-oriented opportunities for refugee students in the U.S. and abroad.
Initially, we recruited student volunteers for these groups while also engaging in online research to scope organizations that provide mentoring and/or scholarships to forced migrant students within U.S. higher education institutions. Following this, SVR members facilitated nearly 30 virtual interviews with organizational representatives and student participants, which then enabled us to write articles based on key takeaways from those directly involved in the realm of refugee higher education. With consent from our interviewees, we publicized various interviews for inter-organizational training purposes and to serve as an external resource as well. Members conducted qualitative coding of data from these interviews to inform guides for varying audiences, including student advocates and university presidents. The culmination of this research project, the final toolkit and its guides, seeks to serve as a living resource that is used to produce advocates across university communities. Our organization intends to employ the toolkit as a platform for action to expand our network and enact action to enhance higher education pathways for forced migrant students throughout the U.S. university community.
This project would not be possible without SVR members, each of whom connected with organizations, conducted interviews, wrote interview summaries, analyzed, and reviewed data collected throughout our project’s duration (in alphabetical order): Christelle Barakat, Marc Caron, Miriam Cing, Rachel Dennis, Lizzie Edwards, Laura Giugno, Olivia Issa, Fatou MS Kinteh, Araz Khajarian, Hang Minh Le, Josiane Matar, Neh Meh, Habso Mohamud, Harley Pomper, Anisha Rai, Jane Roche, Jordan Scanlon, Sara Shah, Iman Siddiqi, Christina Smith, Hourie Tafech, Rashae Williams, Emily Wood, and Ava McElhone Yates.
We would like to express our utmost gratitude to each and every one of our interviewees, advisors, and partners (in alphabetical order): Diya Abdo, Daniel Aguirre, Bashar Alallawi, Aphrodite Al Zouhouri, Jacqueline Ashby, Grace Atkinson, Sereen Banna, George Batah, Danny from One Refugee, Sarah Battersby, Gavin Brockett, Raymon Burton, Rama Chakaki, Isabella Carey, Julia Da Silva, Wana Deronvil, Kyle Farmbry, Miriam Feldblum, Nele Feldmann, Emily Fine, Erin FitzGerald, Paul Hersh, Rosie Hughes, David Kamper, Paige Kelschenbach, Tanya Kimball Genn, Michaela Krulee, Jason Laperriere, Hyein Lee, Emily Macaluso, Michelle Manks, Adrian Melendez, Andrée Ménard, Nour Atya Mousa, Nyota Mweniake, Nawaf Nuimat, Sarah Nunnink, Rachel O'Connell, Gaby Pacheco, Christian Penichet-Paul, Belma Sadikovic, Emma Shekina, Stacy Shaw, Keemia Soheil, Kathy Spillman, Bernhard Streitwieser, Manal Stulgaitis, Colleen Thouez, Tasha Toth, Jens Waltermann, Keith David Watenpaugh, Jill Welch.