Official Launch of the University Alliance for Refugees and At-Risk Migrants (UARRM)

Monday, July 23rd
8:45 am
College Avenue Student Center | New Brunswick, NJ | Free | Register Join us for this one-day special event to mark the official launch of University Alliance for Refugees and At-Risk Migrants (UARRM). This conference will bring together vested parties across relevant sectors including refugees, at-risk migrants, faculty and scholars, student associations, education think tanks, legislators, local government, ecumenical education institutions, and United Nations agencies and other representatives of the international community. Together, we will explore the UARRM’s mandate in action and push further on its expected outcomes in the near and medium-term.  In learning about current opportunities for supporting existing initiatives and new ones, this conference will pave the way for new strategies on collective actions across areas of work within the UARRM and alongside of it on: increasing the number of funded scholarships for refugees and at-risk migrants at universities supporting student-initiated efforts to protect and empower at-risk migrants and refugees in university communities strengthening the bridge between secondary and tertiary educational opportunities, tying education to employment access improving systems for the recognition of foreign academic credentials This event is free and open to the public and location and program are subject to change. Meals and materials will be given at this event, so please register in advance. For more information on UARRM and this event, please contact Rutgers Graduate School–Newark graduate assistant Jane Roche or Rutgers Graduate School–Newark graduate assistant Hourie Tafech. This event is cosponsored by Rutgers Global and Rutgers Graduate School–Newark.   PROGRAM (Tentative) 8:45–9:15 a.m. Registration and Breakfast9:15–9:30 a.m. Welcome Remarks Rick Garfunkel, Vice President for Global Affairs, Rutgers University Opening Remarks: Universities as Potential Partners: How Can Universities Contribute to the Goals of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) Kyle Farmbry, Dean, Rutgers Graduate School–Newark   9:30–10:15 a.m. Keynote Opening: Overview of Global Compact on Migration (GCM) Suzanne Sheldon, Senior Policy Advisor, International Office of Migration (IOM) – UN Migration Agency10:15–11:15 a.m. Panel Discussion 1: Reducing Barriers to Higher Education Opportunities for Refugees and At-Risk MigrantsModerated by Annetta Stroud, Associate Director for Training and Program Development, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)Jeremy Adelman, Director, Global History Lab, Princeton University Sarah Willcox, Director, Scholar Rescue Fund, IIERama Chakaki, Founder, edSeed 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Panel Discussion 2: On-Campus Assistance and Community EmpowermentModerated by Courtney Madsen, Director, Jersey City Immigration and Refugee Office, Church World ServicesDiya Abdo, Founder, Every Campus a Refuge (ECAR) Janet Reilly, Politics Faculty and Director of Refugee Initiatives, Sarah Lawrence College Agnes Nzomene (TBC), Education and Employment Trainer, Catholic Charities 12:15–1:30 p.m. Lunch and Presentation1:30–2:30 p.m. Panel Discussion 3: Advocacy–Student to President EngagementModerated by Prachi Rao, Field Organizer, Organizing & Activism Unit, Amnesty International USA Louis Caldera, Co-founder, Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration; former United States Secretary of the Army; former President, University of Mexico Esder Chong, President, RU Dreamers Anjali Patel, Advocacy Director, No Lost Generation2:30–3:45 p.m. Panel Discussion 4: Developing Research Agendas to Inform Policy and Humanitarian InterventionModerated by Anindita Dasgupta, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Columbia School of Social Work Katherine Burke, Stanford Refugee Research Project Elizabeth Gibson, Steering Committee, IMBR Initiative, Georgetown Georgeta Pourchet, Coordinator, International Refugee Research Project, Virginia TechBernhard Streitwieser, Assistant Professor, International Education & International Affairs, George Washington University 3:45–4:45 p.m. Panel Discussion 5: Digital Communications and Curriculum DevelopmentModerated by Lydia Bassaly, Head of Recruitment and Translation/Interpretation Services, NaTakallamJohn Bartle, The Refugee Project, Hamilton College Maria Höhn, Founder of Vassar Refugee Solidarity and Faculty Director of the Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement and  Higher Education (Tim Raphael, Director, Newest Americans, Rutgers–Newark 4:45–5:30 p.m. Where to Now? Colleen Thouez, Director, Welcoming and Integration Division, Open Society Foundations  

Fall 2018 Study Abroad Fair

Thursday, September 20th
4:00 pm
Study Abroad Fair We’ve been running study abroad programs since the 1960s, and since then, thousands of students just like you have taken advantage of these life-changing cultural and social learning experiences. Join us from 4:00–7:00 p.m. at our Fall 2018 Study Abroad Fair to find out more about our program offerings and how international exposure can give you a competitive edge in your job hunt. We’ll have food, music, and giveaways—including application fee waivers and scholarships!  Sign up for our scholarship raffle at http://bit.ly/studyabroadRU18. #RUGlobalGoals Instagram Contest - Win a $1,500 study abroad scholarship! HOW TO ENTER: 1. Follow us on Instagram @Rutgers.Global 2. Upload a 30-60 second video telling us why you want to study abroad. Be original and creative! Videos that are engaging, thoughtful, and/or funny are preferred. 3. Share your video on Instagram with the hashtag #RUGlobalGoals, and make sure to tag @Rutgers.Global so we can review your submission. Remember to set your account to Public Viewing! 4. Get those Double-Taps! Rack up likes and comments on your video post to increase your chances of winning! All entries must be received by 11:59 pm on Friday, September 21, 2018. ELIGIBILITY: The video contest is open only to current undergraduate and graduate students of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (New Brunswick, Newark, Camden, and RBHS). SELECTION: Rutgers Global will select two winning videos. Videos will be judged on the following criteria: creativity, engagement (number of likes and comments), adherence to contest rules, and subject matter. PRIZES: Each winner will receive a $1,500 Rutgers Global study abroad scholarship. Winners will be notified by direct message on Instagram by September 28, 2018. *By participating in this contest, each entrant grants Rutgers Global (Sponsor) permission to use his/her name, contest entry, likeness, or comments for publicity (or future marketing purposes) without payment of additional consideration, except where prohibited by law. Prize is non-transferable. No substitution or cash equivalent of prizes is permitted.


The Time Machine

Monday, April 2nd
Rutgers students and faculty can experience a virtual reality of ancient Petra at the Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 27. If you’ve ever wanted to stroll the streets of Petra, Jordan, when Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire, you’re in luck. Using maps, archeological data, and other scholarly and historical evidence, Sarolta Takács, history professor and director of the Modern Greek Studies Program at the School of Arts and Sciences, and a multidisciplinary team of students are building a virtual reality where users can literally experience a city annexed by one of the world’s largest empires in history. “Where do you go to exchange money? Where do you shop? Where do you bring your camel to drink water?” Takács said. “Those are the questions we will answer.” Though Petra is “very arid now,” Takács said, the city in the second century C.E. was “like an oasis,” and one of the things students can learn through her virtual reality is how water was redirected into cisterns and used for a variety of purposes. Eventually, Takács envisions using virtual reality to outline Petra’s role in a complex network of trade routes that brought spices, silk, and other luxury items from China and India to Rome. As technology evolves, so will the project, Takács says, estimating that it could take about a decade before the project’s completion. Now in its third year of development, Takács has worked closely with her history students—and computer science students—to visualize and program the virtual reality. Faith Hoatson is a French literature and medieval studies student working closely with Takács to research information, particularly visuals, to create the virtual reality.   “Throughout this process, I was almost amazed to discover how little we know about Petra. This is a civilization that flourished as a key trade city, with enough importance to be annexed by Rome,” she said.   Hoatson is working with computer science students Odalis Arias, Aviv Khavich, and Anuraag Shankar, who have joined the effort thanks to the Aresty Research Center, a division of Rutgers Undergraduate Academic Affairs that provides hands-on research and learning experiences for undergraduates.  “The Aresty program has been amazing,” said Takács. “This is a major undertaking—and it’s a challenge,” adding that setbacks such as a corrupted drive and data loss have slowed the project, but the students have helped to get it back to speed by moving the program materials to the cloud. The marriage of scholastic creativity to the technology that brings the virtual reality to life comes through a gaming engine aptly named “Unity.” Shankar says Unity—the same gaming engine used for popular games such as Angry Birds 2—allows programmers to import 3D models as objects that can be manipulated to create a scene; however, it’s not as simple as copying some files to create the scene. “In order to create the virtual map, we use data from textbooks and research other teams. Then, we use Blender—a 3D creation suite—to create different models for the buildings in Unity. Finally, those models are placed on the virtual map in Unity,” Shankar said. Together, the students are creating an animated guide—using a narrative written by Hoatson—that directs users through the virtual reality to provide useful information about the structures they see. To create the guide, Shankar says that they are using the C# programming language, a standard source code that allows objects to display multiple characteristics.   The project doesn’t end just because the semester does. Takács is seeking to take on a new group of Aresty undergraduates in the fall to continue the programming and implementation of the project. She says that the team is looking to continue using Blender in the next iteration of the program. Students and faculty who wish to experience the virtual reality of ancient Petra can do so at the Rutgers Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 27, 2018, at the Livingston Student Center. Takács says she hopes that the symposium will encourage more students to join the project. “We are currently looking for programmers and graphic designers skilled in Blender to join the project,” Takács said. Interested volunteers can contact her at stakacs@global.rutgers.edu.

Serendipitous Science

Friday, March 23rd
Daniel Shain, Rutgers University–Camden biology professor and chair, outlines his 25-year quest to find and understand death-defying qualities in animal life. How does a quick stop at a diner turn into a new understanding of organisms that can survive extreme cold and heat? Daniel Shain, Rutgers–Camden professor and chair of biology, has spent much of his career studying annelids—or worms. Twenty-five years ago, Shain joined his father on a trip to Alaska; when they stopped for lunch one day, he saw an ad on a placemat for a tourist attraction claiming to house worms in glacier ice. “I thought it was a joke—kind of like when you hear about ‘jackalopes’ in the Southwest,” he said. He said most animal life in these environments live in aquatic microenvironments, or small droplets or pools of water that sit on the surface of glaciers. These pools of water provide many nutrients and forgiving living conditions; the compacted insides of glaciers do not. On a whim, Shain visited the tourist center to investigate the ad’s claims. To his surprise, the advertised exhibit actually displayed “thin, thread-like” worms thriving in a glacial encasement. As a result, glacier ice worms became a “major focus” of Shain’s work. He received a grant from National Geographic to spend a summer in Alaska—and later, in Canada and Tibet—to look for these worms. Eventually, he found himself in the "Land of Fire and Ice," thanks in part to an international collaborative research grant from Rutgers Global and a Fulbright Scholar Program grant. “I ended up in Iceland looking for animal life—looking for anything that lives in a glacier,” he said, describing a multidisciplinary collaboration with colleagues at the University of Iceland that fueled the research. “At first, I was not really expecting to find worms, but it was a possibility. And in the process of that research, I stumbled across something else.” That “something else” came in the form of two species of bdelloid rotifers, a class of microscopic animals commonly found in freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams—but not inside hard-packed glacier ice.   “Most animals have a few hundred types of cells to worry about. It’s not like bacteria or other single-celled organisms that only have one cell to worry about in surviving,” he said. “To get all these cells to adapt at the same time is much harder, so few multicellular animals like rotifers are found in extreme hot or extreme cold environments.” Perhaps most perplexing about their discovery is the fact that bdelloid rotifers are asexual, eliminating the possibility of genetic variations that could have aided the evolution of these commonly aquatic, mild-climate creatures into cold-tolerant beings. “Asexual reproduction is generally considered an evolutionary dead end,” said Shain. Instead, rotifers can evolve through a process called “horizontal gene transfer,” where an individual can absorb the genetic qualities of its food or other type of transferring agent. In this case, the species of bdelloid rotifers found in ice were thought to have feasted on bacteria and algae—single-celled organisms that can withstand extreme temperatures. “They’re sort of famous for stealing DNA from other species that they eat,” he said. “We’ve also found a related species of bdelloid rotifers in hot springs, as well.” Shain continues to collaborate with University of Iceland evolutionary computational biologist Einar Arnason to examine the rotifers’ DNA sequence and pinpoint which parts of the genome have changed to facilitate their adaptation to ice. The team is also studying ice worms found in the field. In examining collected species of ice worms, they found that they actually expended energy—instead of storing it—while thriving in extreme environments.    “It’s something a signature of cold adaption—you have to figure out a way to make a lot more energy. So, we’ve biochemically dissected and identified the key enzymes that are different, and we can try to recreate the same property in other organisms and make them cold-tolerant.”   The team is attempting to engineer a fruit fly with the enzyme to see if it can also withstand cold temperatures, and, Shain says, this genetic modification could potentially make use of land considered too cold and barren for farming and agriculture. “We’ve successfully germinated a lab plant in ice conditions,” he said. The possibilities don’t end there. The enzyme that could make plants and insects cold-tolerant could also serve as a possible treatment for humans with energy-deficient diseases like Leigh’s Disease, a progressive and sometimes fatal condition that causes paralysis and impaired cognitive and organ function. He credits thinking beyond borders for these potential innovations. “It’s important in science to include lesser studied organisms. When you pursue these somewhat unusual, outlier organisms, you’ll find they have a lot to offer,” Shain said Shain plans to connect with colleagues in places like Iceland and Poland to look at glaciers in Greenland, Norway, Scandinavia, Uganda, and Ecuador, as well as hot springs in New Zealand, to see what discoveries these areas could yield. “International research is equivalent to combining two disciplines—when you combine fields, you get something you wouldn’t be able to get if you pursued each independently. When you collaborate with international colleagues, it opens doors and ideas and opportunities.”    



RT @RutgersGlobal: Rutgers is hosting 50 Mandela Washington Fellows between 25 and 35 y/o from sub-Saharan Africa this summer. Help share…