Did you know that the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences is a proud participant in the Institute of International Education – Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) program?
While we enjoy many academic freedoms in the United States, this is not the case around the world. Many scholars have long faced various types of persecution from harassment and torture to even paying with their life – as a result of their work. IIE-SRF is the only global program that partners with higher-education institutions worldwide to fund and find temporary placements for these scholars to continue their academic work in safety. In some cases, if situations in the home country improves, the scholars can return home, but otherwise the fellowships allow the scholar to find longer-term opportunities in their host countries. Since its launch in 2002, IIE-SRF has supported 976 scholars from 60 countries in partnering with 442 host institutions in 51 countries.
Rutgers University provides a home for displaced scholars supported by IIE-SRF through the participation of Jedidiah Pixley, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Specializing in theoretical condensed matter physics, his research group investigates novel phases of matter and phase transitions that arise from quantum mechanics. Read about his experience below as a host to other physicists:
Tell us about your experience as a host for the IIE-SRF program
Collaborating with a member of the IIE-SRF Program has provided me the opportunity to work with someone with a very distinct background from my own. In my lab, they have the opportunity to perform high level research and reach the next step beyond their current position. Rutgers provides a number of opportunities in this regard. Thanks to the Invitations to Industry seminar series and the Erdos Data Science Boot Camp, both Rutgers collaborations with the Erdos Institute, we have been able to provide them with additional training beyond academic research that is relevant for industry positions/interviews as well as opportunities to connect with industry professionals for job possibilities.
How has being a host enhanced or changed your perspective?
To learn firsthand how difficult one’s life can be in other parts of the world has been both illuminating and heartbreaking. It has been a humbling experience and I hope we have been able to provide an enriching program for them to excel and reach their full potential despite the weight of everything they may have lost hanging over their head. I have also experienced the power of science and its ability to transcend all cultures and backgrounds.
Rutgers is committed to protecting the lives, voices, and ideas of scholars around the world and SAS is proud to do its part, with science as a conduit, crossing borders of language, culture, and geography. For more information on the IIE-SRF Fund, visit https://www.scholarrescuefund.org/about-iie-scholar-rescue-fund/.