Pioneer Scholar Spotlight: Jon

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Pioneer Scholar Spotlight: Jon

Pioneer Spotlight Jon

“When you actually are passionate about that subject, you will produce your best possible work.”

Pioneer Scholar Jon, from St. Louis, Missouri in the US, is truly passionate about international relations. Although a number of Pioneer Scholars have participated in the Pioneer Research Program in two consecutive years, Jon is the only one who has chosen the same research area twice. He did have to answer the question “Are you sure?”, but he was sure. And since his two research concentrations, Political Risk and European Integration, were quite different, both experiences were very rewarding.

Jon tells two stories to help explain his fascination with international relations. When he visited Washington, DC with his parents as a younger child, he wondered about what goes on in all the big, impressive embassy buildings. His father, he says, couldn’t answer all his questions. And an even stronger motivation to learn more came from his recent experience of peer tutoring for an Iraqi refugee about his age. They started with basic math tutoring, but Mustafa would tell stories from his childhood, and what it was like to live in the desert in a refugee camp. He talked about how “Damascus was the most beautiful city in the world,” and Jon realized “I never met anybody that’s been to Damascus before.” This intimate knowledge of the implications of American diplomacy for an individual family was eye-opening for Jon, and inspired his passion for making a difference.

When asked why he chose a second Pioneer Research Program in the same research area, Jon admitted, “This sounds very nerdy, but I do love the research.” He took joy in reading the papers for his research, and encourages new Pioneer Scholars to find the field in which they “just have to keep on digging into it, and you actually enjoy learning about it.” However, all this reading had its drawbacks. It was hard to narrow down his interests to a manageable research topic, and Jon needed help from his professor to do that. She helped him craft a research question that was “coherent,” if long. “My thesis question for that paper was something like 300 words,” he says.

Jon has begun his college studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where he finds himself well prepared for his classes, thanks to Pioneer. “I was learning about things as a 16-year-old that are only offered as a relatively advanced course in a college setting, and it certainly made me feel a lot older than I was.” The result was a self-confidence that has motivated Jon to begin his first year in college with classes that most entering students don’t feel ready for.

Jon’s self-confidence stretches far beyond his college courses, which he has chosen because they give him the background he will need to pursue a career in diplomacy. His experience with Mustafa and his family made Jon realize that he would like to change the way the United States approaches international relations, and so his goal is to work in the State Department. “I guess my dream job would be maybe either an ambassador or Secretary of State.”

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