News Release

IIR researchers receive funding for conference focused on refugee resettlement and STEM education

Grant and Award Announcement

George Mason University

James C. Witte, Professor, Sociology, Director, Institute for Immigration Research (IIR), and Michelle S. Dromgold-Sermen, Assistant Director, IIR, received funding for: "Refugee Resettlement and STEM Education."

This conference will focus on how STEM-oriented educational opportunities through high schools, registered apprenticeships, community college, and four-year institutions can all play a significant role in addressing urgent humanitarian needs, while also expanding the nation’s STEM workforce. 

Participants will learn about the current refugee situation, how the Welcome Corps is a valuable addition to U.S. refugee resettlement policy, and how educational institutions can support this program. 

Speakers will be drawn from the U.S. State Department, D.C.-area think tanks, and representatives of all levels of the education system. Witte and Dromgold-Sermen are in touch with organizations to facilitate their participation in the September 22, 2023 conference, which will be held on the Fairfax Campus of George Mason University and concurrently streamed via Zoom.

Witte and Dromgold-Sermen received $4,000 from Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) for this project. Funding began in July 2023 and will end in late September 2023.

New federal initiatives surrounding refugee resettlement offer new opportunities to meet global humanitarian concerns while also addressing STEM workforce needs. This conference will highlight these opportunities and bring together educational and employment stakeholders to consider strategies to address these opportunities.  


About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia's largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 38,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Learn more at


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