Terry McCallum didn’t expect to spend this summer creating a personal website and growing hot peppers in his in-laws’ garden in North Carolina. In February, he was a postdoctoral scholar at Cornell University studying the chemistry of organic radicals. After spending the months prior interviewing for academic jobs, he was negotiating the details of a position as an assistant professor. His future seemed nearly squared away.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
All McCallum’s plans seemed to evaporate. The school where he was supposed to work hadn’t yet made its formal offer. With budget cuts looming, the university’s chemistry department told him the position was on hold. And because McCallum is Canadian, the university told him it could no longer sponsor his visa to work in the US because of new restrictions from President Donald J. Trump’s administration.
McCallum is married to an American, so he decided to apply for a Permanent Resident Card using his marital status. But this change in immigration status meant he could no longer work while waiting for the green card to come through—a process that could take more than a year. This meant he had to leave his postdoc at Cornell.Best wishes to Dr. McCallum, and to all of us.