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College of Law > Academics > Centers, Institutes & Initiatives > DePaul Migration Collaborative > Projects > Solutions Lab

Solutions Lab

​​The DePaul Migration Collaborative (DMC) is home to the Solutions Lab Research Grant program, an innovative initiative that seeks to bridge gaps in services and support for migrants. Supported by generous funding from the Schreiber family, the program targets vital challenges faced by migrants in the United States and around the world.

The Solutions Lab is designed to foster interdisciplinary, community-engaged research projects. Successful collaborations involve scholars and community partner organizations working hand in hand to identify and address critical areas of need. The unique partnership between academia and community organizations ensures that the solutions developed are not only theoretically sound but practically impactful. Each Solutions Lab project receives funding for six to twelve months of dedicated work. Teams are often comprised of DePaul faculty, staff, students, and even external academic collaborators. These interdisciplinary teams partner with community organizations to co-design research projects that have tangible benefits for the community. The grant funding is thoughtfully distributed between the academic team and the community partner organization, reflecting the value and importance of both in the project’s success.

The Solutions Lab has already made significant strides in assisting migrants settling in Chicago. Current projects include Prof. Lamont Black’s work on overcoming barriers to mobile money and digital financial services, Prof. Cooper Mongeon’s focus on enhancing retention in tutor programs for refugees, and Prof. Arnold’s development of country-specific reports to aid in asylum applications.

Looking ahead to the 2023-24 cycle, the Solutions Lab continues to build on its foundational mission. It serves as a beacon of collaboration and innovation, creating solutions tailored to the unique needs and challenges of migrant communities. Stay tuned for future updates on the Solutions Lab. The ongoing work and forthcoming projects promise to be a vital source of inspiration and support, contributing to a more compassionate and integrated approach to migration studies and services.

Kathleen Arnold: New Refugee Categories, New Tactics: Country Conditions Reports For All


Kathleen Arnold is a political theorist specializing in issues of statelessness, sovereignty, and inequality. She is the author of various articles, chapters, and six books, the latest of which—Migrant Protest and Democratic States of Exception—will be out in August, 2023. All of her work, media interviews, and guest lectures are aimed at helping others understand intersecting forms of inequality and how the sovereign state often deepens inequality. For the past two years, she and a team of students (including students from DePaul Sanctuary and Sanctuary Now!) have worked on country conditions sources and country conditions affidavits to support new arrivals to Chicago.

Her project for the Solutions Lab, New Refugee Categories, New Tactics: Country Conditions Reports For All, involves working with the Resurrection Project (TRP) as the community partner, to produce targeted country reports that will help them in asylum applications. Arnold and her students have previously researched and provided background on femicide in Central America; the plight of minoritized groups in Afghanistan; and the conditions of political prisoners in Nicaragua for example.

Lamont Black: Helping Migrants Overcome Hurdles Associated with Money and Remittances Using New Technologies

Lemont Black

Dr. Lamont Black is an Associate Professor of Finance at DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business. His research and teaching focuses on the digital transformation of business with an emphasis on emerging technologies including AI and the metaverse. Dr. Black works at the intersection of innovation and social good to bring new ideas to challenging public issues.

His project with the DMC Solutions Lab, Helping Migrants Overcome Hurdles Associated with Money and Remittances Using New Technologies, addresses migrant finances from the perspective of money, savings, and remittances. In an increasingly digital world, it can be difficult for migrants to access financial networks and the associated fees are often high. Working with community partners, Dr. Black will assess migrants’ financial hurdles and the potential for new technologies to provide better financial inclusion for this community.

Kate Cooper: Building a Resilient Volunteer Tutor Program to Serve Refugees, partners with FORA (Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America)

Kate Cooper

Kate Cooper (PhD, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) is an assistant professor of communication studies in the College of Communication. Kate is primarily interested in nonprofit organizations and how they coordinate with other agencies in order to scale up their efforts. She has studied collaborative efforts in response to education, gender-based violence, refugees and migration, among other issues. She is the co-author of the book Networks for Social Impact (2022, Oxford University Press).

Dr. Cooper’s project, Building a Resilient Volunteer Tutor Program to Serve Refugees, partners with FORA (Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America) in order to create a mentorship and training program for volunteers.