Pioneer’s academic system supports STEM research

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STEM research

Conducting research in STEM presents specific challenges to high school students. Creativity is essential, but so is having a clear methodology and specialized knowledge related to one’s topic. In this case, a structured mentorship program is particularly helpful. Pioneer’s academic system ensures that students have the support they need to do creative research in STEM. Research seminars teach Pioneer scholars the basics of research methodology and writing a college-level academic research paper, while small group cohort sessions and one-on-one mentorship by a professor help students acquire necessary field-specific knowledge and develop an original research topic. Within this structure and adhering to Pioneer’s rigorous standards, Pioneer scholars conduct original research. 

Johnelle (materials science, 2020), a Pioneer scholar from the United States, says, “Structure [at Pioneer] gives room for creativity. We had the research seminars which were really helpful. We didn’t go in blind. They would tell us how to do the introduction, for example, and they prepared us to come up with a research topic…” Furthermore, she says, it was important for her to mold her ideas to fit Pioneer’s research standards, as not all potential research topics are feasible. “[In developing my research topic,] the creativity was there, but I also had to have an open mind and not be too stubborn, because I had to consider that my research paper had to be plausible.”

May (environmental studies, 2020), a Pioneer scholar from South Korea, found that having a specific format for how to write her paper helped her to structure her thoughts.  “I think structure is important in research because it helps organize the big points we want to make. Without structure, our research could go in many different ways, which would make our findings confusing. So having structure and expressing our creativity within that structure is the most effective way to construct a research topic,” she says. 

Macdonald (engineering, 2020), a Pioneer scholar from Zimbabwe, shares that his experience with Pioneer’s academic system helped him work more effectively and even changed the way he thinks. “As a high school student, I was in the position of working on a professional research paper and not just a research project in my free time. There was a structured framework, and it changed my thought process,” he says. Macdonald underscores the effect that Pioneer’s structured program has had on his time management skills. “Structure helps you waste less time…. You become more efficient in gathering your data. When you’re doing a literature review, you know where to refer. There’s a lot of information to deal with. At Pioneer we are given tools for how to cite, how to do a literature review… I think that structure helps you become more efficient, and when you’re more efficient you can produce better results,” he says. 

Often, research entails striking a balance between structure and creativity. Pioneer’s academic system pushes students to be creative by requiring original research while providing guidance and scaffolding to support them on their research journey. This structure prepares Pioneer scholars to meet the challenges of STEM research.

Dear educator friend,

In the critical process of preparing students to transition to college, you are key. The
ramifications of your guidance are far-reaching.

The Pioneer Research Program believes that it, too, has a role to play in preparing students of special potential and passion for learning. This is a role we trust you will appreciate knowing about. Our mission is to offer a deep and otherwise unavailable opportunity to exceptionally motivated young scholars who want to learn and research at the college level and to explore their potential for innovation.

What makes Pioneer a unique deep-dive learning experience is not just the mentorship of distinguished professors. It is the rigorous quality controls developed conjointly by Pioneer and Oberlin College. Professors (must) adhere to rubrics for

1) setting learning goals;

2) syllabus development;

3) oversight, feedback and evaluation, and

4) grading standardization.

This rigorous academic system is supported by thorough admission process and a high-minded ethics code. The combination gives students an exceptional learning experience that is brought to fruition in a college-level research paper documenting their findings.

You can follow this link Pioneer’s concrete academic system to learn more about the academic system. Academic quality control and academic oversight assure Pioneer’s focus is on learning and learners, and therefore all of our practices were built upon the following principles:

No conflict of interests Pioneer’s academic ethical standards
Because of its high academic and ethical standards, the Pioneer program has earned the trust of college admissions departments and formed the basis for the ground-breaking collaboration with Oberlin College. Pioneer scholars get two college credits upon completing their Pioneer research.

Click to learn about Pioneer and Oberlin College's groundbreaking academic collaboration.

Pioneer has a rigorous admission process. Students who have genuine academic interests and are highly motivated are a good fit with Pioneer’s values. Pioneer’s founding board insisted that Pioneer commit to a professor-blind policy during the application process, ensuring that applicants have authentic field interest and correct priorities. Consequently, no information about professors is released before admission to the program. This policy is much appreciated and respected by universities. Professor-blind admission policy
On this page is the critical information needed to meet your needs.

If you have additional questions, feel free to let us know how we can help you by emailing or calling 855-572-8863.


Matthew Jaskol

Founder & Program Director