Meet immigrant origin academics and learn about their educational pathways.

04/12/2024 - CONGRATULATIONS to Dr. Carola Suárez-Orozco, recipient of one of the 2024 Guggenheim Fellowships!

We are happy to announce that Immigration Initiative at Harvard Director Dr. Carola Suárez-Orozco is one of the 2024 recipients of the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship!

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Taps 188 Artists, Scholars, Photographers, Novelists, Essayists, Poets, Historians, Choreographers, Environmentalists, and Data Scientists to the Ranks of 19,000 Fellows Honored Since 1925.  Now in 99th year, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation recognizes & awards monetary prizes to the 2024 class of trail-blazing fellows across 52 fields.

(New York, NY–April 11, 2024) — The Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced today their appointment of 188 Guggenheim Fellowships to a distinguished and diverse group of culture-creators working across 52 disciplines. Chosen through a rigorous application and peer review process from a pool of almost 3,000 applicants, the Class of 2024 Guggenheim Fellows was tapped on the basis of prior career achievement and exceptional promise. As established in 1925 by founder Senator Simon Guggenheim, each fellow receives a monetary stipend to pursue independent work at the highest level under “the freest possible conditions.”

To see the full list of new Fellows, please visit www.gf.org.

“Humanity faces some profound existential challenges,” said Edward Hirsch, award-winning poet and president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. “The Guggenheim Fellowship is a life-changing recognition. It’s a celebrated investment into the lives and careers of distinguished artists, scholars, scientists, writers and other cultural visionaries who are meeting these challenges head-on and generating new possibilities and pathways across the broader culture as they do so.”

In all, 52 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 84 academic institutions, 38 US states and the District of Columbia, and four Canadian provinces are represented in the 2024 class, who range in age from 28 to 89. More than 40 Fellows (roughly 1 out of 4) do not hold a full-time affiliation with a college or university. Many Fellows’ projects directly respond to timely issues such as democracy and politics, identity, disability activism, machine learning, incarceration, climate change and community. Since its founding in 1925, the Foundation has awarded over $400 million in fellowships to more than 19,000 fellows.

The 2024 class of Guggenheim Fellows’ notable projects, including:

• Jonathan Alter, acclaimed political writer whose new project looks at Caesar as a parable on today’s political culture.
• Sara Bennett, a photographer looking at the lives of women after imprisonment.
• Jessica Blinkhorn, an interdisciplinary artist and advocate for the disabled, aging, and LGBTQ+ communities, whose next project uses art to reevaluate pre-conceived notions of disability and sexuality.
• Nicholas Galanin, an Indigenous (Tlingit/Unangax̂) multi-disciplinary artist who is developing workshops and new artistic works to create a greater discourse on indigenous art.
• Paul K. Newton, a professor of mathematics who is using game theory to study and develop cancer evolution models.
• Lorraine O’Grady, a conceptual multi-disciplinary artist who is reviving an old persona for a new performative work project.
• Jennifer Raff, a geneticist using DNA to study the complexity of the human evolutionary process that has shaped today’s patterns of genetic variation.
• Tracy K. Smith, a former U.S. Poet Laureate looking at a variety of Afro-diasporic cultures in connection to Black Lyric poetry.
• Emma Straub, a novelist whose next project explores the ambitions and relationships of a reunited boy band and the nostalgia of their loyal fans, decades after the band’s peak.
• Ada Trillo, a photographer documenting through images the stories of LGBTQ+ migrants to the U.S.
• Julia Wolfe, a composer creating an a cappella spatial choral work.

Generous gifts from friends and previous Fellows have helped support this year’s Fellows:

• An exceptionally generous bequest in 2019 from the estate of the acclaimed American novelist and 1959 Guggenheim Fellow, Philip Roth, provides partial support for a variety of writers.
• Actor Robert De Niro has underwritten Arvie Smith’s Fellowship in Fine Arts in honor of his father, the painter Robert De Niro Sr., a 1968 Guggenheim Fellow. Through vivid color and historical references, Smith’s paintings consider racial and political identity.
• The Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation continues its support of the Fellowship in Constitutional Studies, awarded this year to Kim Lane Scheppele, an expert on authoritarianism.
• Wendy Belzberg and Strauss Zelnick have underwritten a Fellowship in General Nonfiction awarded to James Wood in honor of the writer Stacy Schiff, a 1996 Guggenheim Fellow and Foundation Trustee. Wood is an essayist, novelist, and literary critic, especially focused on the idea of realism.
• Jerold S. Kayden, a 1989 Guggenheim Fellow, has helped establish a Climate Change Fund in support of climate-related Fellowships. This year the Climate Change Fund will support the Fellowships of Robert Kopp (Geography and Environmental Studies) and Eric Steig (Earth Science). Kopp is an interdisciplinary climate scientist studying sea level change, and Steig is a glaciologist and isotope geochemist whose research focuses on ice sheets.
• The Eleanor Schwartz Charitable Foundation has underwritten a Fellowship in Medicine & Health awarded to Cassandra Quave, an ethnobotanist whose research focuses on the pharmacological evaluation of medicinal plants.
• Matt Pincus and Sarah Min have underwritten a Fellowship in Fiction, General Nonfiction, or Biography for women or people of color. This Fellowship has been awarded to Kirstin Valdez Quade, Fellow in Fiction.
• Fellows in the creative arts are partially supported by the Joel Conarroe Fund, named for the former President of the Foundation who was a 1977 Guggenheim Fellow.

About the Guggenheim Foundation
Created and initially funded in 1925, by US Senator Simon and Olga Guggenheim in memory of their son John Simon, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has sought to “further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions.”

Since its establishment, the Foundation has granted over $400 million in Fellowships to more than 19,000 individuals, among whom are more than 125 Nobel laureates, members of all the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award, and other internationally recognized honors. The broad range of fields of study is a unique characteristic of the Fellowship program.

The Foundation centers the talents and instincts of the Fellows, whose passions often have broad and immediate social impact. For example, in 1936, Zora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God with the support of a Guggenheim Fellowship and dedicated it to the Foundation’s first president, Henry Allen Moe. Photographer Robert Frank’s seminal book, The Americans, was the product of a cross-country tour supported by two Guggenheim Fellowships. The accomplishments of other early Fellows like e.e. cummings, Jennifer Doudna, Jacob Lawrence, Rachel Carson, James Baldwin, Martha Graham, and Linus Pauling also demonstrate the strength of the Foundation’s core values and the power and impact of its approach.

Press release from ANNOUNCING THE 2024 GUGGENHEIM FELLOWS – John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation… (gf.org)

More information at gf.org 

04/09/2024 - Moving Stories Season Two: Immigrant Origin Scholars’ Journeys – An interview with Sarah Rendon Garcia

Watch & Listen

In this second season of Moving Stories, we engage in deep conversations with immigrant-origin academics about their educational journeys. Our guests, whose families have migrated from many origins, share their triumphs and trials, the barriers they’ve broken, and the dreams they have pursued.

This series will explore the diverse pathways to success through schooling and academia, offering listeners insights into unique (and often invisible) challenges immigrant-origin students encounter as well as those they share with other first-generation to college students. We explore and consider the challenges and struggles and we also seek to unravel the sources of strength and resiliencies in these journeys. 

Join us for our first episode with host Carola Suarez-Orozco and guest Sarah Rendon Garcia.

02/25/2023 - Harvard EdCast: What Do Immigrant Students Need? It Isn’t Just ELL

Educators need to do more to address the basic social-emotional needs of immigrant children if they are to advance in learning, says Professor Carola Suárez-Orozco. She is the director of the Immigration Initiative at Harvard, where she’s focused on the practices that can change immigrant children’s lives in the classroom.

Immigrant children make up 27% of student population in the United States, face many challenges, and also have many strengths and resiliences. However, those qualities often go unnoticed in the quest to learn English. “You have to address the social-emotional needs, and immigrant-origin kids have a number of them that a lot of educators are oblivious to. That’s my mission, is for educators to have a better sense of the whole child, to realize that there are a lot of challenges. There are also a lot of strengths and resiliencies,” Suárez-Orozco says. “They just have to have a better understanding of who these kids are. And most educational systems don’t address — most education schools don’t address this as part of education.”

In this episode, she talks about the value of understanding the whole immigrant child and how to incorporate their personal stories into the classroom. To listen to the episode click here

- Making Schools a Welcoming Place for Immigrant Students: How educators can help newcomers in the classroom

Children from immigrant homes make up more than a quarter of the child population in the U.S. and are the fastest growing segment of school-age students, but many are invisible and unrecognized — schools don’t typically have a real sense of their presence or their potential according to Carola Suárez-Orozco, the director of the Immigration Initiative at Harvard.

If immigrant-origin children — meaning those who are foreign born or have at least one parent who was born abroad — are considered at all, they are typically thought of as English language learners. While learning English is important, Suárez-Orozco says it is a “very reductive way of thinking about the immigrant child experience.” She believes that much more needs to be understood to help newcomers integrate, and Suárez-Orozco shared her advice for ways that educators can begin the process.

To learn more about how schools can lend a helping hand to immigrant children click here


10/16/2022 - Challenges that young immigrants face with U.S. public schools

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Professor Sophia Rodriguez calls it out for the realities on the ground for unaccompanied minors in schools in a new Washington Post Op Ed!


- Jóvenes latinos viajan más lejos y a más lugares en busca de trabajo

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This news article informs that young latinx individuals travel long distances to access work opportunities, sometimes even migrate constantly across states to secure an available work position. “Moving in search of better opportunities is perhaps more within the cultural and behavioral repertoire of these young adults than of those whose families have more distant migratory experiences,” says Professor Suárez-Orozco.

- What Barring Immigrant Students from School Would Mean for Them — & the Country

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Suárez-Orozco: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s challenge to Plyler vs. Doe would harm not just millions of children, but all of us.

- Suárez-Orozco to Lead Immigration Initiative at Harvard

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Carola Suárez-Orozco is set to lead the Immigration Initiative at Harvard as its newest director, a role she will assume on July 1 in addition to joining the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

- Carola Suarez-Orozco to join HGSE Faculty


She will begin her appointment as professor in residence on July 1, 2022, and will head the Immigration Initiative at Harvard

- New Report Explores Innovation of Educators in Immigrant-Serving Districts

Read more from the Harvard Graduate School of Education

A new policy report released yesterday by the Immigration Initiative at Harvard (IIH) with the PIECE (Putting Immigration and Education in Conversation Everyday) research collaborative reports cutting-edge findings on how six immigrant-serving school districts are adapting and connecting with communities in the face of COVID-19 pandemic and school closures. It includes case studies and quotes from educators on the front line. The report is the fifth piece of research to be released as part of IIH’s Research Series, an ongoing initiative to disseminate rigorous, non-partisan, and non-ideological research on immigration issues across a broad range of disciplines and perspectives.

“When the pandemic hit, we felt a sense of urgency to respond to the inequalities that were laid bare and exacerbated by the crisis,” says Rebecca Lowenhaupt, associate professor of educational leadership at Boston College, co-author of the report, and founding member and principal investigator of the present study. “At the same time, we were inspired by the innovative responses of our district partners, who demonstrated commitment and creativity in supporting immigrant students during school closures this Spring. As districts prepare for the uncertainty of the new school year, we wanted to share immediate insights from our conversations with the hope it might help other immigrant-serving districts grappling with similar dilemmas.”

- Jacqueline Bhabha: Supreme Court’s ‘Dreamers’ decision just a first step

Read Professor Bhabha's full opinion in the Financial Times

IIH Executive Committee member Jacqueline Bhabha writes on the Supreme Court’s DACA decision for the Financial Times:

Since September 2017, the “Dreamers” who had benefited from Daca have been living on a knife’s edge.

Thousands of the Daca-mented have suffered from crushing anxiety because of the insecurities associated with their status; some at Harvard have sought medical help for mental illness. Our students report that crucial days for the legal case have been preceded by sleepless nights of foreboding. Last week’s ruling brought this terrifying limbo to an end.

For now, the Daca-mented can continue to work, study, live with their families and lead their lives free from imminent deportation. But they are not out of the woods. Only legislation can convert the discretionary suspension of deportation into a permanent legal status leading to citizenship. That, like so much else in the US, depends on the November election.

- Jacqueline Bhabha: Europe shows a Janus face to migrants

Read Professor Bhabha's full opinion in the Financial Times

IIH Executive Committee member Jacqueline Bhabha writes on EU immigration for the Financial Times:

There is still a refugee crisis in Europe: a crisis of protection, of care, and of social inclusion.

Today, neither Greece nor the EU have the resources or the political will of [Germany’s] initial refugee response.

Refugees in Greece “confront the withering consequences of Europe’s diminishing sense of compassion through the evictions, destitution, despair and growing xenophobia that they must face every day. How long until fellow Europeans realize that this crisis, on its own doorstep, is their crisis too?

- Gonzales to the New York Times: DACA is “the most successful immigration policy in recent decade”

Read article at NY Times

- Announcing the Immigration Initiative at Harvard

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A new university-wide effort, launched with support from HGSE, aims to spur research, policy, and action on immigration.