In June 2012, in light of the horrific conditions unfolding in Syria and the increasing number of students without access to higher education, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) became interested in bringing Syrian students to study at our main campus in Chicago. Members of the Office of the Vice Provost of Student Access, Success, and Diversity Initiatives worked together with national and international partners to announcing the educational and scholarship opportunities at IIT for Syrian students. These opportunities were possible through collaboration with the Syrian expatriate organization Jusoor and EducationUSA-Syria, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
Within one week IIT received over 450 expressions of interest and Jusoor received over 5,000 visits to their website. In total, IIT received over 120 final applications, and awarded admission and scholarships to 28 Syrian students, fourteen of whom enrolled at IIT for the Fall 2012 semester. Since then another 25 undergraduate Syrian students have joined us, bringing the total number of Syrian students at IIT to 43. In May 2014 the first 5 Syrian students graduated.
These students are truly exceptional. All of them have excelled academically and were ranked at the top of their classes in high schools and universities across Syria. Even more encouraging, these students have a deep passion to return to Syria and make an impact on the country. Their aspirations range from wanting to support the physical reconstruction of the country to spurring economic growth, to developing innovations in telecommunications and aerospace engineering. The current students, acting as a cohort, have started a Syrian student organization to educate the campus and Chicago community about the rich culture, history, and geography of their beloved country, as well as to support other Syrian students. The campus sentiment regarding the Syrian students was well-expressed in the student newspaper: “TechNews, and by extension, IIT is proud to stand in solidarity with these students, who are as equally a part of the IIT family as anyone else.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Gerald P. Doyle
Student Access, Success, & Diversity
e: firstname.lastname@example.org p: 312-567-5203
Megan E. Mozina
International Initiatives & Strategic Alignment
e: email@example.com p: 312-898-8383
Gladis E. Herst
Intercultural Outreach & Engagement
e: firstname.lastname@example.org p: 312-350-4362
Illinois Institute of Technology would like to thank the following organizations for their incredible support, without which this initiative would not have been possible: