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Justice and the Arab Spring: A Guide to the Arab Street [April 28, 2017 ]

Students began signing on to Pioneer Academics’ Pioneer Open Dialogue Series (PODS) landing page a half-hour early, not to get a good seat, for no one had to leave their home to attend; but to make sure the technology was working.  “Microphone?” “Check!”  “Camera?” Check!” “You’re good to go,” from Pioneer Academics Program Director Matthew Jaskol meant you were registered, signed in and ready to participate in Pioneer Academic’s first Pioneer Open Discussion Series event of 2017: Justice and the Arab Spring: A Guide to Arab Street with Princeton University Professor Lawrence Rosen, PhD.

When 9:00 a.m. EDT arrived, 35 students from US, India, Canada, Qatar, South Africa, Turkey, Taiwan, and China were online and excited to join Dr. Rosen in a discussion of cultural components of the Arab Spring through the eyes of people on the street in the Middle East.

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First, the students met two men politely trying to determine who was responsible for a bird escaping from a shopkeeper’s cage.  Who’s responsible for the loss? The shopper or the shopkeeper?  In Arab culture, it’s the first sentient being involved who is responsible. In this case, the bird! It is man’s responsibility to use his reason to understand this, and to enhance his relationships with others. So the shopper and the shopkeeper agree they both are responsible, and parted friends, i.e., indebted to each other.

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Next Dr. Rosen introduced the students to Hussein from Morocco, who inquires of Dr. Rosen whether there is corruption in America. “Yes,” responds Dr. Rosen, as he cites several examples.

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“Bribing a politician,” posits Dr. Rosen? “No, that’s just politics,” says Hussein.” “Kickbacks,” says Dr. Rosen. “No, that’s just business,” says Hussein. Then Dr. Rosen cites nepotism; and Hussein says that’s just family solidarity, and concludes, “That’s why America is a great country, because there is no corruption there!”

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Lastly the students met Ibanik, also from Morocco, who tells us about an individual whom he knows not, based on pictures he is shown of that person in social settings. He talks about the person without regard for chronology, as if the person’s past is his present.

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Each of these examples, Dr. Rosen explains, are manifestations of Arab culture, in which reason and relationships are paramount, and which seem unintelligible to many Westerners.  By understanding these men on the street, Dr. Rosen went on, one can better understand the Arab Spring and what it meant to the countries of North Africa and the Middle East.

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Dr. Rosen responded to student questions submitted in advance (so he could prepare better answers) and to some rising spontaneously during his talk.

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Dr. Lawrence Rosen, Ph.D., is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. He is both a distinguished anthropologist and accomplished attorney at law.

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Student reactions to the Pioneer Open Dialogue Series were enthusiastic, even though for some it was late night; while for others, early morning.  “It was a great presentation and it really invoked a lot of thoughts for me,” said one student. “The session was enlightening, and has helped me understand the situation of the Arab Spring from a different point of view,” explained another.

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Pioneer Open Dialogue Series is free to persons of all ages and ethnicities from around the world. All that is required is a computer with a camera and microphone. “It’s Pioneer’s way of providing additional educational opportunities to a much wider audience than the Pioneer Research Program provides,” Pioneer Academics Program Director Matthew Jaskol states. “It’s a way of sharing great ideas,” Jaskol explained, “without regard for anything but the joy of learning.”

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The next Pioneer Open Dialogue Series discussion is planned for Summer 2017.

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Pioneer Academics provides 100% online educational opportunities for academically outstanding high school students around the world through it’s innovative Pioneer Research Program. Learn more at www.pioneeracademics.com.

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Pioneer Professor: You Can Be an Entrepreneur [December 19, 2016 ]

Pioneer Academics held a Pioneer Open Dialogue Seminar (PODS) with Professor Ted Zoller of University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business on December 16, 2016. At UNC, he oversees the teaching and outreach programs of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. Dr. Zoller spoke online with 20 students from six regions: Rwanda, India, China, Hong Kong, the United States, and Malaysia. He spoke about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how students can develop the skills necessary to become one.

Co-host: Christina Sun

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Cohosting the event was Christina Sun, one of Professor Zoller’s students in the Pioneer Research Program last summer. Christina is a senior at Harbin No.3 High School in Harbin, China. Opening the event, Dr. Zoller said to the students that the goal of his talk was “to open you up to what could be your entrepreneurial future.”

What is entrepreneurship?

Dr. Zoller challenged student attendees, asking, “are you an entrepreneur?” He said that many young people don’t see themselves as entrepreneurs when, in fact, they have the potential to be. He said the common excuses are “I don’t have an idea,” “I don’t have enough resources,” and “I don’t have the capability to be an entrepreneur.” Dr. Zoller then told students that entrepreneurship is a process of constructing and designing their own lives. He said that the biggest barrier to becoming an entrepreneur is giving oneself permission to seize opportunities. The students learned Howard Steven’s definition of entrepreneurship – “the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”

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Dr. Zoller likened entrepreneurship to playing checkers and not chess. One always has to look at the changing context of the market. A new idea is only disruptive until the market adopts and assumes it. Innovative ideas may not initially be well received because they’ve never existed before. But if they solve a real need, then they will become part of the market landscape.

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Success

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Dr. Zoller led a discussion of words like “opportunity,” “risk, “luck,” and “failure” in the context of entrepreneurship. He also lingered on the word “success,” saying everyone has a different understanding of it, but that “unless you define it, you don’t know how to acquire it.” He advised students to think about the special contribution they wanted to make in their lifetimes and the change they’d like to see in the world, and then define that as success for themselves.

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Preparing to be an entrepreneur

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One student in India asked what formal training or things students should do to prepare to be entrepreneurs. Dr. Zoller suggested studying the nature of markets, finance, and economics, and also building experience in the domain in which they’d like to make a difference, like biotechnology, product development, etc. He also recommended students consider universities that have programs to teach innovation, problem solving, and business creation.

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New ideas

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The discussion also touched on the nature of ideas. Students learned that “ideas are valuable, but ideas that are applied are invaluable.” Dr. Zoller told them that entrepreneurs may have new ideas or not, but that they take ideas and make them available to others to solve real problems.

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What makes an entrepreneur?

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In the session, Dr. Zoller conceived of a model of entrepreneurship in which the entrepreneur understands both the market and an innovation. The entrepreneur knows the need of a customer that’s not being met and then the insight that will allow an innovation to meet that need. The customer may not be aware a problem is not being solved until they’re presented with the solution. This is where the entrepreneur’s value proposition lies. This entire process is one of iteration. The expert entrepreneur arrives at the value proposition through having an insight that they test in the market, and then take the market’s feedback to improve their solution. This is often called “lean methodology.”

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The importance of teams

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Dr. Zoller also hit on another key component of entrepreneurship—execution. It is essential to deliver a solution in a timely way that does not expend more resources than it creates. He said that a strong team brings in “left brain entrepreneurs,” those who focus on details, and “right brain entrepreneurs,” those who see the big picture. The left brain entrepreneur dives deep into the business plan and into how very specific details work. The right brain entrepreneur considers how the overall business model meets market trends. A good venture will make use of both kinds of people because they complement each other.

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Pioneer Announces Nominees for Publication in the 2016 Pioneer Research Journal [November 25, 2016 ]

Pioneer Academics has announced the nominees for publication in the 2016 Pioneer Research Journal! The nominated papers were produced by 10th and 11th grade high school students from around the world and are the culmination of their participation in the Pioneer Research Program.

The Journal is published each year to showcase the outstanding work of select young Pioneer scholars.

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For many of the nominees, the paper represents an academic milestone. Despite their prior unfamiliarity with the academic research process, the students quickly learned how research is conducted at the undergraduate level and beyond. Under the guidance of their Pioneer professors, all distinguished educators at top American colleges and universities, the students mastered critical research skills, such as determining a research topic, locating sources, and forming cohesive, structured arguments to defend research results.

˝Pioneer really taught me many skills, both academic and personal,˝  said nominee Sophia Xu of China, whose paper provided a business model for app developers that could help create effective solutions for keeping diabetes in check. ˝The most important skills Pioneer taught me are the academic research skills. Pioneer showed me how to select information which was most important for my research paper. The second set of skills Pioneer taught me was on a more personal level – how to express my opinions and how to clearly communicate with professors.˝

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˝Something that surprised me is the amount of pride that I feel after having done the Pioneer Program,˝ said nominee Rahil Bathwal of India, who used mathematical models to solve his city’s trash problems.

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Each nominated paper will be evaluated by the Pioneer Research Journal Committee, a panel of distinguished professors from leading American undergraduate and graduate institutions, who will determine which papers are to be included in the Journal. The research papers under consideration represent the top 20% of papers written in the Pioneer Research Program’s academic year of 2016.

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The 2016 Pioneer Research Journal student nominees are as follows.

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Nominees

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Adonyev, Philipp

Eton College – Windsor, United Kingdom

We should not strive to be happy

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Bathwal, Rahil

Jamnabai Narsee International School – Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Locating Obnoxious Facilities

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Chen, Xinyu

High School Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University – Shanghai, China

Sound of Silence: African Spirituality, Cosmology, and Christianity in The Bluest Eye

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Cheng, Yi-Yun (Ethan)

International School of Kuala Lumpur – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A Review Paper on the CRISPR/Cas System

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Du, Yibing

The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China – Beijing, China

East European Jewish Children’s Health Conditions on the Lower East Side, New York City, 1890-1914

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Erez, Erce

Robert College of Istanbul – Istanbul, Turkey

Visual Proofs of Fibonacci-like and Other Interesting Sequences

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Fu, Minqi

Beijing National Day School – Beijing, China

Could LIGO Have Heard the Event GW150914 Before Its Upgrade?

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Guo, Boyu (Beryl)

WHBC of Wuhan Foreign Languages School – Wuhan, China

Your Body, My Voice: An analysis of Chinese Naruto Fans’ communication patterns

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Hu, Sean

Pacific American School – Hsinchu, Taiwan

Athena’s Spoiled Olives – How Institutional Flaws of the European Union and Greek Politics Instigated a Failing Economy

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Huang,Yutong

The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University – Guangzhou, China

The Silver Lining Behind the Darkness: Social Media as an Innovative Tool to Combat Sex Trafficking in Southeast Asia

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Ick, Isaac

Dobyns-Bennett High School – Kingsport, Tennessee, USA

Molecule Transistors: The Effects of Test Molecules on the Conduction Patterns of a Lithium Nanowire

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 Jin, Miaochen (Andy)

Beijing No.8 High School – Beijing, China

Coloring Integers: Van der Waerden’s Theorem and Related Theorems

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Khanna, Samar

Dhirubhai Ambani International School – Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

The Effect of Elastic Waves on Semiconductor Band Gap Energies

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Khemka, Pranav Bharat

Jamnabai Narsee International School – Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Study of Neural Circuits Involved in the Intuitive Decision Making Process in Teleostei

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Li, Kevin

Naperville North High School – Naperville, Illinois, USA

The Market Efficiency of “Smart Money” During the Tech Bubble

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Liu, Enci (Jessica)

The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University – Guangzhou, China

Chinese Tracking: An Unexploited Controversial Hotspot with Underlying Benefits

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Luo, Dinghao

The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University – Guangzhou, Chin

Comparison of the Effectiveness of Lithium, Valproate and Aripiprazole for Bipolar Disorder

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Ma, Xiaoyuan (Carol)

Shenzhen Middle School – Shenzhen, China

Employing Nature: A Review of Microbial Remediation of Heavy Metal Contamination in Soil

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Madadi, Ali Masoud

United World College Dilijan – Dilijian, Armenia

How Afghan Migrants Impact Their Homeland Through Remittances

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Mafi, Mina

Crystal Springs Upland School – Hillsborough, California, USA

The Role of Islam in the Gulf Nations

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Qu, Jason

St. George’s School – Vancouver, Canada

Political Culture and Perspective in Transition: Generational Cleavages in the 2016 European Union Referendum in the United Kingdom

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Roth, Joshua

Northside College Prep High School – Chicago, Illinois, USA

Culture and Pain: The Effect of Culture on the Production of Endorphins in the Brain

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Surprenant, Zita

Crossroads School – Santa Monica, California, USA

Residential Skyscrapers in New York City

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Tan, Xin

Chengdu Experimental Foreign Languages School – Chengdu, China

The Great Leap Forward: An Althusserian Analysis of Leftism as Ideology

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Tomar, Ria

Mission San Jose High School – Fremont, California, USA

The Neural and Cognitive Basis of Dreaming

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Truesdale II, Wallace

The Pingry School – New Jersey, USA

When the Soldier Becomes the Robot: Examination of the Mental Effects of Autonomous Weaponry

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Ugur, Baris Eser

Robert College of Istanbul – Istanbul, Turkey

Behavior of Single Molecule Capacitors in Correlation with the Molecular Structure

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Wang, Jingxu

High School Attached to Capital Normal University – Beijing, China

2016 United States Risk Analysis

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Wang, Yixi (Cecilia)

Chengdu Foreign Languages School – Chengdu, China

Comparison of Nonverbal Communication in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine

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Wong, Yun Ying (Alesha)

Tenby International School – Penang, Malaysia

Comparing and Contrasting Economic Development: The Case of Malaysia and Singapore

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Xu, Cheng (Sophia)

WHBC of Wuhan Foreign Languages School – Wuhan, China

Potential for Developers and Investors in Diabetes Apps to Profit by Improving the Chinese Healthcare Industry

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Xu, Wenxi (Tilly)

The Madeira School – McLean, Virginia, USA

A comparison of Ideologies and Practices: Malcolm X’s influence on Black Lives Matter

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Xu, Yuchen (Henry)

The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China – Beijing, China

A World of Possibility — Tier-Oriented Base-Storage Network for CCN Routing

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Xi, Yue (Kelly)

The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University – Guangzhou, China

High-Tech Organicity

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Yin, Boshang

Beijing 101 Middle School – Beijing, China

The Chinese Reform of the Science and Humanities Curriculum

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Zeng, Lu (Doris)

Shenzhen Foreign Languages School – Shenzhen, China

From the Dark Knight to Francis Underwood: Twenty-first Century Noir Heroes

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Zhang, Haiyi

The Experimental High School Attached To Beijing Normal University – Beijing, China

Urbanization, Tourism, and Village Life: Cuandixia Village

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Zhang, Tianren

WHBC of Wuhan Foreign Languages School – Wuhan, China

The Impact of Florence Nightingale on Sanitary Reform during the Victorian Era

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Zhang, Tongxin

WHBC of Wuhan Foreign Languages School – Wuhan, China

How Effective is Fiscal Policy in Correcting Income Inequality?

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Zhang, Zijun (Annabel)

The Experimental High School Attached To Beijing Normal University – Beijing China

Characterization of chitosan/PVA scaffolds with chitosans of different average molecular weights for tissue engineering

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Zhao, Zihao (Tony)

Shenzhen Foreign Languages School – Shenzhen, China

The Relationship Between Supercontraction, Water Content and the Mechanical Properties of Spider Silk

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Zheng, Ziyue (Mae)

Shenzhen Middle School – Shenzhen, China

Immigration: A Cure or a Curse? The Effects of Immigration Inflow on the Wages and Employment of European Residents

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Zhong, Haoyang

The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University – Guangzhou, China

Investigation of the radicalization process of Aum Shinrikyo Members

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Zhou, Chen (Andre)

Chengdu Jiaxiang Foreign Languages School – Chengdu, China

Impact of School Facilities on the Quality of Senior High School Education in China: A Quantitative Study

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Zhu, Mengwen (Jack)

Henan Experimental High School – Zhengzhou, China

Analyzing Tactile Sensory Plasticity through TISL, Attention, and Perceptual Learning Generalization

 

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AO Dialogue: Pomona College – A Small School With Outsized Possibilities [November 17, 2016 ]

Even though it’s small in size, Pomona College has a major reputation and is consistently ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in the US. It’s strong in research, resources and professional opportunities for students, and diversity in its community. This is why Pioneer Academics recently organized an Admission Officer (AO) Dialogue session for its Pioneer scholars with Assistant Dean of Admissions at Pomona College Samantha Schreiber.

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Schreiber explained why Pomona’s size shouldn’t be considered a negative factor:

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˝Many of the opportunities for students exist because of the size of the school, and we can counterbalance our small size by having the consortium of Claremont Colleges. It’s also very easy to expand your circle here. Closer relationships are more valuable than having lots of people around.˝

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Pomona is one of five undergraduate colleges and two graduate institutions that make up the Claremont Colleges Consortium. Even though Pomona has only 1663 students, there are almost 5,500 students living within a square mile radius/a 2.6 square kilometer radius, said Schreiber.

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The school is located in Claremont, only 45 minutes from one of the largest and most diverse cities in the world – Los Angeles. The location provides many opportunities for research, internships or just having fun on the weekend.

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admissionsaid4

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.Studying in Pomona

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Pomona offers 48 majors. That broad array complements the fact that students here have a wide variety of interests, academically and outside of the classroom. They really make the most of of the liberal arts concept, taking classes for fun as well as for learning for the sake of learning. Students often try different courses until they know where they want to focus their attention. This is why those who want to focus on only one field and be around people who are similar to them might not find what they are looking for at Pomona.

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Students can also choose interdisciplinary majors like STS – science, technology and society – or PPE – philosophy, politics and economics. Media studies is another interdisciplinary major coordinated among different Claremont schools.

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Pomona also lays claim to an excellent school for the arts. Students can become a serious musician or dancer, learn an instrument for the very first time, or take dance or theater.There are many opportunities to develop one’s creative side. Those who do not intend to major in theater, art, dance or music can still submit art supplements, which showcase their arts backround and artistic work to demonstrate how proud they are of their accomplishments.

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It’s also important to mention that Pioneer scholars can submit the papers they have written, and the faculty at Pomona will examine them with interest.

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anthony-shay-classroom

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Shared Resources

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The consortium enables students to cross-register and take courses in any of the Claremont Colleges. In addition to academic and faculty support, the Claremont Colleges share many resources that aid the growth and development of their students.

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The most extensive Pomona programs for research and internships are the Pomona College Internship Program (PCIP) and the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP).The PCIP was created because many internships these days are unpaid, so students have to choose between getting a job and getting important professional experience. If a student gets an unpaid internship, he can apply for the PCIP program which will pay for the internship. The program is run through the Career Development Office (CDO).

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The SURP program is used for funding research, be it domestic or international, over the summer. Students have to write up their proposal and have a faculty member sign off on it. SURP will ensure the funds to make that research happen. Over 200 students receive funding each year, and they present their experience at a poster conference in the fall.

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It’s very important to know that this is a widely available program; in fact, 45 percent of juniors and seniors receive this sort of funding. Prospecting students can find out more on the department’s website where receivers of the PCIP or SURP funding are listed along with the titles of their projects.

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admissions-slide_1

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The Student Experience

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Pomona has an enviable student-faculty ratio of eight students to one professor. This means a great deal of personal attention and face-to-face interaction with professors in class. Students are expected to be ready to participate and to engage. They are held accountable for their education and are expected to take it seriously.

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The one-on-one connection and personalization are a serious aspect of the academic experience at Pomona, even outside the classroom. Academic advising is done by the faculty, which helps students select courses and advise them on graduate programs. But the the most significant benefit they provide for students is showing them different paths to their goal. A great many students come with one idea about what they want to do, not realizing there are many ways to apply their knowledge or to accomplish their goals. It’s important that students come with open minds and explore different options before settling on one focus.

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millikan-hall

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The Sponsor Group Program and the ISMP

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The Sponsor Group allows each student to be assigned two or three class sponsors who help him with any questions.

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Pomona also offers a great deal of support for international students, such as the ISMP (International Student Mentoring Program). The program is optional. It allows international students to have a mentor, someone to talk to a to about the unique things they are experiencing while being so far away from home. Pomona’s first-year students are 12.5 percent international, while overall, international students comprise 10 percent of the population. This number is rising.

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yamashita-sagehen

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Applying to Pomona

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There are two terms in which students can apply for Early Decision and one for Regular Decision. For Early Decision 1, the deadline is November 1st, and students learn the result on December 15th. The deadline for Early Decision 2 is January 1st, and the results are out February 15th. Regular decision deadline is January 1st, and the results come in by April 1st.

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The difference between Early and Regular Decision is that the Regular Decision option gives students more time to work on their application and explore more schools. It’s less about tactics and more about having all the information needed to make a thoughtful decision. Admission during Early Decision is binding and prevents the applicant from applying to other schools. There are no set quotas for these two terms, and those who qualify for Early Decision will also qualify for Regular. The question is whether the student is ready to make that commitment.

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internships

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Outside of the Classroom

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The largest student organization is called On the Loose (OTL). It runs programs almost every weekend to get students off campus and out into nature. The programs are all funded by the school because Pomona’s primary concern is that students have opportunities regardless of their financial situation.

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The Draper Center for Community Partnership is here to connect students to the surrounding community. A majority of Pomona’s students will at some point perform some community volunteer work like tutoring school children or helping in afterschool programs. April 7th is a big day for community service; the entire college is encouraged to engage in projects sponsored by the school.

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The Career Development Office (CDO) can meet students as soon as they set foot on campus and helps them find opportunities through the Claremont Connect website. The CDO has partnerships with different conosortia in this field which helps them find opportunities for students. Their staff is dedicated to specific areas like internships, graduate programs, and job programs, helping students at every stage of their career.

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Most students also attend career fairs, and a great many companies come to Claremont because it has five schools and a subsantial pool of highly qualified students.

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Schreiber finished her presentation by inviting Pioneer scholars to check out Pomona’s YouTube channel to learn more about the school and Pomona’s blog ‘Voices’ where students post their experiences.

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˝We also have interns and senior interviewers at our office,” Schreiber said, “whom you can contact online if you have questions.˝

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Important Note: Colleges’ and universities’ admissions departments do not endorse any program, organization or company. Any type of organized communication with admissions officers should not be construed as an endorsement of the communication organizer.

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Pioneer Academics and Oberlin College Announce Partnership in Offering a New Approach to Online Education [October 11, 2016 ]

Monroe Township, N.J. — Pioneer Academics, the leading online academic research program for high school students, and Oberlin College, a premier American liberal arts college, today announce a partnership in offering a new approach to online education. Starting in 2016, Ohio-based Oberlin will grant course credit and provide an Oberlin transcript to Pioneer students upon their completion of the Pioneer Research Program. Additionally, Pioneer students will be granted access to Oberlin’s library resources and scholastic databases, including the music library of Oberlin’s world-renowned conservatory and the art library associated with the Art Department and the College’s Allen Memorial Art Museum, one of the top collegiate art museums in the U.S.

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This bold initiative is a key step in furthering Pioneer’s commitment to providing high school students with unparalleled academic research opportunities otherwise unavailable to them. Pioneer students will now have the backing of a premier American liberal arts college behind their Pioneer research pursuits, and will be able to use their work with Pioneer to further their education in ways which were not previously possible. The Oberlin College credit and formal Oberlin transcript, which Pioneer students will receive, can be transferred to colleges, universities, or other academic institutions—pending approval—in which they enroll later in their careers. Access to Oberlin’s library resources will place a world-class, comprehensive collection of texts, videos, music, art, and other academic materials at students’ fingertips, a privilege rarely enjoyed at the high school level.

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Pioneer and Oberlin share a deeply rooted commitment to providing high-level educational opportunities to talented, intellectually motivated students of all backgrounds. Oberlin was the first college in the U.S. to adopt a policy to admit students of color, as well as the first to create a coeducational undergraduate program. Pioneer’s fully online platform allows the Pioneer Research Program to draw students from all parts of the world. Additionally, through Pioneer’s generous need-based scholarship program, students of all backgrounds are able to benefit from all the program has to offer.

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“As an academic institution which has always prided itself on pushing the boundaries of higher education and ensuring that educational opportunities are equally available to all, we are looking forward to working with Pioneer to offer first-rate research opportunities to high school students around the world,” says Tim Elgren, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Oberlin. “Pioneer’s unique online model which allows students to participate in the program regardless of where they live, as well as the extraordinary quality of the research opportunities which Pioneer is able to offer its students, were powerful factors in our decision to partner with Pioneer.”

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“We are honored to have Oberlin’s support and backing, and are excited to be able to enhance the value of the Pioneer Research Program with Oberlin’s course credit and comprehensive library resources,” says Matthew Jaskol, Pioneer’s academic director. “Oberlin is unique in that it is home to an internationally-acclaimed music conservatory and a world-class art museum in addition to its outstanding College of Arts and Sciences. This diverse blend of educational opportunity at a single liberal arts institution embodies the all-encompassing view of education we take at Pioneer. Additionally, our mission to attract all outstanding students, regardless of background, exactly aligns with Oberlin’s longstanding dedication to access, inclusiveness and diversity in selecting its student body. I am looking forward to joining Oberlin in furthering this mission, and working together to provide the best academic experience for our students.”

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About Pioneer Academics

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Pioneer Academics offers undergraduate-level research opportunities to talented, intellectually motivated high school students from around the world. In the Pioneer Research Program, students work one-on-one with leading U.S. university professors in advanced study and research of a topic of their interest, culminating in a full-length research paper. The program is conducted entirely online, allowing high school students from all over the world to participate. More than 270 students from 18 countries and regions have participated in the program in the past three years.

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About Oberlin College

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Ranked consistently among the nation’s top liberal arts schools, Oberlin College is committed to rigorous academics, artistic and musical excellence, and social justice. Founded in 1833, Oberlin was the first institution of higher education in America to adopt a policy to admit students of color (1835) and the first college to award bachelor’s degrees to women (1841) in a coeducational program. Oberlin’s distinct history of challenging intellectual and social conventions shapes the student experience today, which fosters strong bonds among a diverse community of bright and talented students from around the world.

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Contacts:

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Robert Wittenburg, Pioneer Academics, LLC

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www.pioneeracademics.com / robert.wittenburg@pioneeracademics.com

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Scott Wargo, Oberlin College Scott.Wargo@oberlin.edu

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A Recap of Our July 23 PODS Discussion with Peter Hauet – Finding the College That Fits You Best [July 28, 2016 ]

On July 23, Pioneer hosted its first PODS – Pioneer Open Dialogue Seminar – session of 2016. Logging in from nine locations around the globe, more than 30 Pioneer students and parents joined us in a dynamic discussion of a topic weighing on all of their minds – applying to college. The discussion, led by International Association for College Admission Counseling founding member and veteran college counselor Peter Hauet, centered on how to identify and apply to one’s “best-fit” college as well as other pointers about preparation for and success in college and beyond. Take a look at some of the invaluable advice shared during the discussion:

1. Eliminate stress from the college application process: Start the process early – or at least on time. If you’re entering your senior year, you should be working on your essays right now. Keep a notebook with you to jot down ideas related to college essays which occur to you through the day; when you sit down to write the essays, you can refer back to those thoughts. Don’t procrastinate! Also – make sure to make time for physical activity and exercise – this will make you a better student and make you less stressed. Parents – don’t add stress to your child’s college application process with comments like ‘if you don’t get into X school I’m not paying your tuition’ – there is enough pressure on your child when he/she is applying to college as it is.

2. Show interest in your chosen college – properly: Don’t be a ‘mosquito,’ constantly bombarding admissions officers with emails – they will not appreciate this. Instead, be sure to attend any information sessions for that college when their admissions representatives are in your city, and make sure they know you attended (filling out the attendance cards they provide is a good way to do so). Visit the school, unless your financial situation or another legitimate reason prevents you from doing so. Last but not least, focus on building a connection with someone at the college of your interest, and follow up with them.

3. It’s not all about the rankings: Who determines the order in which colleges are ranked? What criteria are considered in the rankings? The “number one” school may not be number one for your individual needs. There are about 4,000 colleges in the U.S. – the difference in quality among the top 100 schools is infinitesimal. Additionally, most of the top 100 individuals in terms of net worth in the United States did not attend ultra-high ranked schools, but rather large state schools.

4. Have “the money talk” with your parents: College is expensive, and it is critical to be realistic about your financial needs. Have an honest, open discussion with your parents about your financial situation early in the college application process. Consider the effects of your future college’s tuition on your parents (and siblings, if you have them), and don’t forget about expenses beyond tuition, such as the cost of living in your future school’s area. Neglecting to have such a discussion can cause stress further down the line, and can prevent you from being able to attend schools to which you are accepted if you are unable to pay the school’s tuition.

5. Don’t forget about grad school: In this day and age, your educational career is likely to extend past college. Focus less on the “name value” of the college you’re applying to – “name value” is more important in a graduate school than a college. Your choice of undergraduate institution is not nearly as important as doing well once you’re there.

6. Think outside the box – and outside the country: Though the U.S. offers an abundance of high-caliber colleges, there are an increasing number of English-language programs available in other countries as well. Places like the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, and even Japan offer top-notch undergraduate degree programs, taught in English. These are high quality programs, offered at a fraction of the cost of a U.S. undergraduate education.

7. Engage in community service which is personally meaningful: Community service refers to anything that helps your community, large or small – though it must be broader than babysitting for your family. Don’t do community service because you think it ‘looks good’ – do community service that changes you as a person and affects your worldview. Make sure you choose community service work that clearly demonstrates your passion. For instance, if you love basketball, help coach a local children’s basketball team rather than volunteer at a nursing home unless you see the value in it.

8. Need-based scholarships – only apply if you need them: Applying for a need-based scholarship unfortunately decreases your chances of acceptance to any college to which you apply – even those that claim to be need-blind. As such, only apply for a need-based scholarship if you need one.

Thank you once again to Mr. Hauet for sharing his wisdom with our group!

*A note about the discussion: in offering the opportunity to hear from and speak with Mr. Hauet, our one and only goal was to provide valuable information to consider in the college application process. This event was not a promotion of any kind. Pioneer unequivocally does not participate in or advocate for any consulting business or college counseling service. Mr. Hauet is retired and is not involved in any type of paid college counseling.

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Pioneer Research Journal Showcases Work of Top High School Students [March 18, 2016 ]

Pioneer Academics is pleased to announce the publication of the 2015 Pioneer Research Journal, a showcase of the work of select Pioneer Scholars, outstanding, academically-driven high school students from around the world who participate in the Pioneer Research Program.  The articles featured in the 2015 journal, Pioneer’s second, are the final product of the Scholars’ undergraduate-level research completed in the Pioneer Research Program, accomplished under the mentorship of distinguished American professors.

Each paper published in the journal was required to pass a rigorous evaluation process to qualify for publication. Only Scholars who received a program grade of A- or higher and were nominated by their Pioneer professors were eligible for publication. Nominated papers were each submitted anonymously to a contributing reader, a professor familiar with the paper’s research area. Papers which passed the contributing readers’ reviews were accepted for publication, though only after the papers’ authors implemented any edits deemed necessary by the contributing readers.

The papers cover a wide range of research areas, from a look at the neuroscience behind the increased propensity of adolescents to take risks, to the expansion of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, to a look at the effects of Greece’s economic situation on the European Union, to the proving of the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem. The geographic distribution of the authors featured within the Journal is broad as the range of topics. This year, the authors come from Spain, South Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and China.

With the tutelage of their Pioneer Research Program professor-mentors, who are educators at top American colleges and universities, Pioneer Scholars master critical research skills usually taught at the college level: determining a research topic, locating sources, and forming cohesive, structured arguments to defend research results. The program begins with small group seminars, each capped at four students and taught by a Pioneer professor-mentor. The topic is an area of the professor’s interest and expertise.  Each student then works one-on-one with the professor in cutting-edge study about that topic. The final product is the research paper, an academic milestone for the Scholars. The professors evaluate the Pioneer participants’ work and work ethic with the rigorous academic standards of their respective institutions.

The Pioneer Research Program offers 22 areas of study, among them neuroscience, international relations, philosophy, chemistry, literature, and art history.  Almost 300 students from 18 countries and regions have participated in the program in the past three years.

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Nominees for Publication in the 2015 Pioneer Academics Research Journal [December 31, 2015 ]

Pioneer is pleased to announce the nominees for publication in the 2015 Pioneer Academics Research Journal!

The Journal, published annually, showcases the work of select Pioneer Research Program participants, academically driven high school students from around the world. It is a collection of these participants’ Pioneer research papers – the final product of the students’ undergraduate-level Program research. The Pioneer Academics Research Journal Committee, a panel of distinguished professors from leading American undergraduate and graduate institutions, will evaluate each nominated paper and determine which will be published in the Journal.

The papers, and the Program research, are academic milestones for many of the nominees. “It was everyone’s first time experiencing a college-level research project,” says nominee Sooah Kang of South Korea, indicating her Pioneer classmates as well as herself. “Before I went into the program, I had never really experienced this kind of individual project,” echoes Eren Kafadar of Turkey, another nominee.

Under the guidance of their Pioneer professors, all leading educators at top American colleges and universities, the students mastered critical research skills, such as determining a research topic, locating sources, and forming cohesive, structured arguments to defend research results. “My readings, reflections, and discussions constantly reshaped my perspective, and my professor never ceased to inspire me” reflects nominee Ziqi Ma of China. “I think Pioneer was a good gateway and entryway into the kind of research that I will get to do in university,” adds nominee Timothy Wee, who comes from Singapore.

The 2015 Pioneer Academic Research Journal student nominees are listed below. Their research papers represent the top 20% of papers written in the Pioneer Research Program’s academic year of 2015.


Nominees


Cherise Cao


Tianjin No. 1 Middle School – Tianjin, China


The Role of Apps in Disrupting Global Healthcare*

Xiangting Chen


The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University – Guangzhou, China


The Dynamics of Movie Selection: a Study of Social Contagion using the Revised SI Model Based on Word of Mouth

Trang Duong


Blair Academy – Blairstown, NJ, USA


Iran’s Theocratic Government and its Transformation of Democracy

Beril Erdogdu


Robert College – Istanbul, Turkey


A Discussion of the “Subject”: René Descartes, David Hume, Edmund Husserl

You Jin Jung


Korea International School – Seoul, South Korea


Adolescent Decision Making: Neuroscientific Basis of Risk Taking Behavior in the Developing Brain

Eren Kafadar


Robert College – Istanbul, Turkey


The Effect of Diffraction Slit Structure on Reciprocal Space

Sooah Kang


Seoul International School – Seoul, South Korea


The Role of Apps in Disrupting Global Healthcare*

Zhimin Lin


The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University – Guangzhou, China


Which Model is Feasible for Hong Kong? A Comparison among the Democracies in Britain, Mainland China, and Hong Kong

Yige Liu


Beijing No. 4 International High School – Beijing, China


The Difference between Oversampling and Undersampling the Proving of Nyquist Sampling Theorem

Matthew Lo


University High School – Irvine, CA, USA


Textual and Visual Appeals in The New Yorker Performing Arts Advertisements

Raquel López-Ríos de Castro


IES San Mateo – Madrid, Spain


The Charged Coupled-Device (CCD) Era

Sicheng Luo


Hangzhou Foreign Language School – Hangzhou, China


Accelerated or gifted education——Which one is a better fit for Chinese students?

Ziqi Ma


The High School Affiliated with People’s University of China – Beijing, China


Transformation of the meanings of arts and crafts in China and Australia

Jonathan Mak


Chinese International School – Hong Kong, China


Pesticides and Endocrine Disruptors. Understanding the molecular mechanism by which some pesticides (Aldrin, DDT, Mecoprop) act as endocrine disruptors

Yu Que


The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University – Guangzhou, China


Sense and Sensibility of Artificial Intelligence: When Machines Can Think

Amanda Rabin


Pine Crest School – Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA


Brain controlled Prosthetics

John Sheng


Woodside Priory School – Portola Valley, CA, USA


Transhumanist Memory Uploading Through the Lens of McConnell’s Experiments

You Shu


Hangzhou Foreign Language School – Hangzhou, China


The Analysis of Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Their Economics

Yuyang Song


The High School Affiliated with People’s University of China – Beijing, China


Cecilia Gallerani: Flemish Influence on Leonardo da Vinci’s Innovative Portraiture, Use of Chiaroscuro and Symbols

Darren Tong


Chinese International School – Hong Kong, China


Hukou, Development, and Fairness

Yuan Wang


The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University – Guangzhou, China


Sensation, Perception and Judgment in Descartes

Timothy Wee


Shanghai Community International School – Shanghai, China


Biology (Macromolecular Machines)

Yilin Wen


Chengdu Foreign Language School – Chengdu, China


The Motif of Culture: The Costume Culture of the Yi ethnic group of Liangshan

Sibei Wu


The High School Affiliated with People’s University of China – Beijing, China


Is Greece’s Crisis in the Eurozone a “Tipping Point” in the Development of the European Union? The Challenges and Opportunities in the Greek Crisis and the Fate of Europe’s Integration

Siwei Xie


Beijing No. 4 International High School – Beijing, China


The Role of Apps in Disrupting Global Healthcare*

Hugo Taro Blázquez Yamagishi


IES San Mateo – Madrid, Spain


Aerobic Exercise Effects on Hippocampus Roles

Hongkang Yang


Shenzhen Middle School – Shenzhen, China


Imidacloprid: General Information and Unintended Effects

Shuying Yang


Beijing No. 4 High School – Beijing, China


Should the Dragon follow the Eagle? Economic Development of the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America during the post-World War Era

Jiahong Yi


The High School Affiliated with People’s University of China – Beijing, China


The Influence of Leadership Worldview on Russian Foreign Policy: Putin’s Worldview Shift from Pragmatism to Civilizationism

Rong Yu


Wuhan Britain-China School at Wuhan Foreign Languages School – Wuhan, China


The Role of Apps in Disrupting Global Healthcare*

Ashley Zhang


Crean Lutheran High School – Irvine, CA, USA


Women Uniting on the Web: Social Media Contributions Against Gender-Based Violence in Turkey

Jingyi Zhang


Beijing No. 4 High School – Beijing, China


Report on Pioneer research project on Fibonacci numbers and visual proofs

Yueting Zhang


The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University – Guangzhou, China


Russia and India: The Road to Advancement and Modernization

Peicheng Zou


Wuhan Britain-China School at Wuhan Foreign Languages School – Wuhan, China


The Probabilistic Method in Graph Theory*

*Denotes a paper co-authored by multiple students

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Staying True to Yourself While Applying to College [December 22, 2015 ]

Admission to America’s leading colleges and universities has metamorphosed into a storm cloud of stress and pressure, enveloping thousands of high school students who apply to these institutions each year. For months – or even years – these students have persevered through a ceaseless barrage of grueling study, practice tests, and essays as they have prepared for college and the upcoming four years of their lives. Regrettably, in this high-pressure environment, many students have sacrificed their passions. They’ve opted instead for pursuits they believe will appeal more strongly to admissions officers.

Is this the best approach to college preparation? Could a pursuit of one’s real interests aid not only in crafting a standout application but to greater rewards in life?

“Ask yourself ‘what do I want to do?’ or ‘what do I care about,’ says Luccas Borges, a Pioneer Scholar from Chicago who received an early action acceptance to Yale University last week. “When I was doing things I cared about, it didn’t feel like work. My love for those pursuits drove me to go farther with them than anyone expected, and farther than I would have gone for some fabricated interest I thought would get me into college.” Xinyue Zhuo, a Pioneer Scholar from Beijing, China, who received an early decision acceptance to Columbia Unversity, agrees. “My true passions are sustainable development and public policies. I strongly believe that only when you follow your true passions and stay true to yourself can you stand out.”

Other Pioneer Scholars also emphasized the role Pioneer played in their pursuit of their passions and in determining exactly where their passions lie. “I have always been interested in economics, says Rong Yu, a Pioneer Scholar from Wuhan, China who received an early decision acceptance to Washington University in St. Louis. “Through Pioneer I was able to delve deeply into healthcare economics, and I truly enjoyed it. Though I haven’t decided on a field for my college major yet, the research work sparked my interest in many areas and I will enjoy exploring these areas in college and beyond.” Gabrielle Davis, a Pioneer Scholar from Asheville, North Carolina, who was accepted into Emory University, shares similar sentiments. ‘I have had a fascination with the brain (and emotions) since middle school. I stuck to my passion by doing the Neuroscience course through Pioneer and spending summers volunteering in labs at Emory. I think this really helped strengthen my application to a strong research institution like Emory showing how I was focused and staying dedicated to my true passion.’

These are just a few examples of the rewards one can gain from following their passions. As these Pioneer scholars demonstrate, the pursuit of one’s true interests and one’s college applications need not be at odds.

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Three NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad Finalists Awarded Full Scholarships to Pioneer Research Program [December 18, 2015 ]

Congratulations to Pranav Khemka, Arya Sarda, and Prannv Dhawan! For their outstanding performance in the 2015 NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad, Pranav, Arya, and Prannv have been awarded full scholarships by Pioneer Academics for the 2016 Pioneer Research Program, a global program which enables high-achieving high school students to develop undergraduate-level research under the guidance of American university professors.

NEXT-GENIUS, based in Mumbai, is India’s first critical thinking competition for students ages 14-18. This year, 17,600 students competed in the contest, known as the NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad. Pranav, Arya, and Prannv all placed in the top 1% of contestants, and were selected from a shortlist of just 21 contestants deemed eligible for the Pioneer scholarship.

With Pioneer, the three winners will have the chance, while still in high school, to pursue undergraduate-level study of subjects that interest them. They will be able to delve into these subjects with support and guidance from U.S. university professors who are experts in the fields – and as the Pioneer Research Program is conducted entirely online, they will be able to do so without needing to leave India.

“We are very pleased to accept these three talented NEXT-GENIUS finalists as Pioneer Scholars, and to be able to bring Pioneer’s world-class, high level research opportunities to high school students in India,” says Matthew Jaskol, Pioneer’s Academic Director.
Congratulations to Pranav, Arya, and Prannv! We are looking forward to working with you in February!

About Pioneer:
Pioneer Academics offers undergraduate-level research opportunities to talented, intellectually motivated high school students from around the world. In the Pioneer Research Program, students work one-on-one with leading U.S. university professors in advanced study and research of a topic of their interest, culminating in a full-length research paper. The Program is conducted entirely online, allowing high school students from all over the world to participate. More than 270 students from 18 countries and regions have participated in the Program in the past three years.
To learn more about Pioneer, please visit www.pioneeracademics.com.

About NEXT-GENIUS:
NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad, based in Mumbai, is India’s first critical thinking contest for teens. Through its online contest, NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad identifies brilliant problem solvers from across India.
To learn more about NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad, please visit www.next-genius.com.

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Take a look: Carnegie Mellon Admissions Officer reveals a new side of CMU [December 16, 2015 ]

A group of Pioneer Scholars learned about Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) steadfast commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship, the hidden charms of its arts and humanities programs, its unique research opportunities, and practical application tips. And they did not learn these from a campus visit or a website!

Instead, on August 20, 22 high-school students in the Pioneer Research Program, signing in from around the world, had the extraordinary opportunity to engage in an online dialogue with Associate Director of Admission, Keith Bryner. He joined the meeting from Carnegie Mellon’s campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pioneer scholars joined from six different countries, including the United States, China, Korea, the Philippines, Spain and Turkey.

This article lists little known aspects of CMU by summarizing Mr. Bryner’s presentation and answers to the questions posed by Pioneer scholars.

What makes Carnegie Mellon unique:

Interdisciplinary education

“Our computer scientists are artists; our engineers are social scientists. Our students live in interspatial moments between fields. That is where innovation occurs,” said Mr. Bryner. In talking about how many institutions have strong academic programs, he said that none connect these fields together in such an interdisciplinary way as Carnegie Mellon does.

Work ethic

Mr. Bryner explained that the school’s slogan – “My heart is in the work” – embodies its community. This spirit, instilled by the school’s two self-made industrialist founders, Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, is part of the institution’s DNA. Such a strong work ethic, when combined with its interdisciplinary focus, means, “All of our students graduate with a problem-solving degree” said Mr. Bryner.

Diversity

With students from all 50 American states and 65 countries, “Diversity of the student body allows for all manner of learning to occur beyond the classroom,” said Mr Bryner.

Other unique aspects of Carnegie Mellon:

With 131 separate research centers, Carnegie Mellon gives undergraduates almost limitless opportunities for interdisciplinary research. For example, in the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe), students and professors work with Google on making the first “Internet of Things campus.”

Carnegie Mellon has very strong post-graduation outcomes. 85% of students from the graduating class of 2014 at the time of graduation were en route to a job, to graduate school or to a service program.

The social life at the school is very diverse. With over 280 clubs, no one group dominates campus social life. While there is an overriding pride in being a “Tartan,” there is room for every group and interest to thrive in the school community.

Students engage in some of the world’s most cutting edge research. One way Carnegie Mellon does this is through cultivating public-private partnerships. For example, Uber is partnering very closely with the school to research and develop self-driving cars.

Carnegie Mellon provides unique research programs to prepare undergraduate students to engage in high-level, cutting edge research. For example, freshmen can receive Small Undergraduate Research Grants (SURG) to conduct independent research and then present their findings at the Meeting of the Minds Symposium, a conference for undergraduate research.

Tips for applying to Carnegie Mellon:

It is possible to transfer between Carnegie Mellon’s six colleges once admitted, but some schools are harder to transfer into than others. For instance, the School of Computer Science is always one of the most competitive. For the more competitive schools, it may be helpful to apply to them as a freshman because it is always easier to transfer out than in.

You don’t have to be a “tech person” to apply. Carnegie Mellon has ample opportunities in every field and looks for students with all types of interests. Having a student body of diverse intellectual passions can provide the community with unique perspectives that inform and lead to greater innovation.

Pioneer would like to thank Mr. Bryner for his clear articulation and elaboration. The dialogue’s participants gleaned new insights into the school. Due to limited space in the live session, we hope that Pioneer scholars who could not join can benefit from this summary article. Those who are interested in CMU are encouraged to follow up with or get in contact with Mr. Bryner directly or through info@pioneeracademics.com

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Research Study of Leading Chinese Professor Produces Interesting Guidelines for High School Students. [November 25, 2015 ]

Beijing, Nov. 25 — ‘Tis the season!  High school guidance counselors worldwide are in their seasonal cave, not hibernating, for sure, but rather diligently, obsessively helping students apply for admission to US colleges.  Till January, little else is on their radar screen. All the more extraordinary, then, that the college guidance staff of all of Beijing’s elite high schools cleared their calendar to spend the evening of November 16 with Professor Ziwen Lu. Dr. Lu is one of China’s leading experts on critical thinking, and he presented his findings on a unique program for high school students.

Professor Lu conducted a year-long study to answer this question: What is the impact on Chinese students who conduct research through the Pioneer Global Research Program? Pioneer is the only program in existence which allows outstanding high school students across the globe to collaborate one-on-one with leading American professors in college-level research online. The collaboration ends in an academic paper in one of a broad range of subjects.

Also in attendance was Dr. Tim Elgren, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Oberlin College & Conservatory in Ohio, and three of his college administrators. Dr.Elgren is a leading education expert in promoting innovative liberal art education. He believes that though Professor Lu’s study was conducted on Chinese students, the findings would benefit US students as well.

Professor Lu’s research pointed to two profound learning trends.  The first is the enormous value of one-on-one structured academic mentorship.  The second is that guided goal-setting is essential to maximize the value of an educational experience.

Participating in Professor Lu’s study were 30 randomly selected Pioneer participants. Dr. Lu ’s surveys ran throughout the entire course from before the student participants started the first session to after they completed their research papers.  64% of the surveyed Pioneer scholars hoped to increase their competency in the skills of research and academic writing. Of them, 82% believed they achieved significant results in both areas.

Surprisingly few of the surveyed Chinese students had focused on improving skills in critical thinking or in international communication. Yet the results in those areas were dramatic. Dr. Lu points out the need for Pioneer to provide greater guidance in setting objectives in order to augment the impact of the experience.  That conclusion might be extrapolated to other educational experiences, though Dr. Lu did not address that possibility.

Professor Lu’s findings were corroborated by Pioneer’s Academic Director, Matthew Jaskol. With videos of several students, Mr. Jaskol showed that students who had accepted, internalized, and could articulate the goal of broadening and applying their analytical thinking skills were all top performers, with no exceptions.

Professor Lu is planning follow-up studies of the Pioneer Academics program, which will endeavor to incorporate the professor’s suggestions for increased meta learning — setting broader goals and becoming more self-aware of the learning process.

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University of Chicago Admission Officer Gives New Perspective to Pioneer Scholars. [November 12, 2015 ]

‘Grandma is great, but she is not applying to college,’ said Daniel Urbina-McCarthy, Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Chicago. On September 5, Mr. Urbina-McCarthy shared the traits that make the university unique, as well as some candid tips on how to write good admissions essays. One piece of advice was that too many students write about people in their lives who are important to them, like their grandmas, and neglect to focus the essays on who they themselves are as a person.

This was one tip among many that 23 Pioneer scholars from around the world learned in the online info session with the University of Chicago. Additionally, Mr. Urbina-McCarthy explained three of the University of Chicago’s distinguishing characteristics, which were the university’s ‘life of the mind’ spirit, its famed ‘Core’ curriculum, and its strong residential system divided into ‘houses.’

The ‘life of the mind’ defines the academic ethos of the school. University of Chicago has a long history of bringing about innovative leaps due to this spirit. Mr. Urbina-McCarthy cited many examples of such leaps that came about at the school, including the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction as part of the Manhattan Project, the genetic link to cancer, modern economic theory, and even pioneering anthropology professors that inspired the creation of the movie character Indiana Jones.

In terms of how this spirit relates to applicants, Mr. Urbina-McCarthy explained, ‘The school is full of people with big ideas. It is not just about professors but undergraduate students and graduate students, all engaged as a community in interdisciplinary thinking. We define it as ‘the life of the mind,’ in which students are not just engaged in digging deeper inside the classroom, but also outside the classroom, in our quads, dining hall and dorms. It is a spirit that every student at the University of Chicago has.’

The school’s Core curriculum is a second defining characteristic. The Core covers the entire academic spectrum: humanities, foreign languages, civilizations, math, physical sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts. Within these subjects, students must select a sequence of classes that they want to take. The content of these courses is different but each brings together 19 students from different backgrounds. Taking these classes with all majors gives students an important skill set that aids them in their studies and post-college careers. Mr. Urbina-McCarthy explained, ‘Having the Core allows one to enter many different conversations, whether it is about science, history, or economics. This is a very transferrable skill set in academia and the real world.’

Finally, dividing students into different ‘houses’ – dorms – is something unique to University of Chicago as well. Every student is placed into a house upon moving onto campus. Each has on average 75 students, and ‘These are the communities that you first tap into when you come to college, the first friends you make. They are the people you stay up late at night with arguing about who is the best Disney princess, who you watch Will Ferrell movies with, and who you explore Chicago with,’ said Mr. Urbina-McCarthy.

After learning about the school itself, Mr. Urbina-McCarthy took questions about the application process. He provided Pioneer scholars with some frank advice on how to view application essays and write them. Here were some of his tips:

The Personal Statement is the piece of the application that shows who you are. Every school receives it. Mr. Urbina-McCarthy put it like this: ‘The way you should write your personal statement should be such that if you’re at school and you don’t write your name at the top of your paper and leave it in the middle of the hall, then whoever picks it up should know exactly who wrote the essay.’

For the supplemental essays, schools are looking for  really specific answers. Students should look closely at how they are worded. ‘When we’re reading an application, we’re really thinking about community and how a student will fit on our campus,’ Mr. Urbina-McCarthy said. ‘I talked about our housing system and Core. Other schools also have distinct features that define their experience… In these essays, we’re trying to gauge how  students are going to fit into our community and how they have thought about this community and the resources they will take advantage of while they are here.’

Your supplemental essays should always be unique to that school. ‘A general rule of thumb is that if you can replace the name of the college with Disneyland, you want to rewrite that essay,’ was how Mr. Urbina-McCarthy put it.

For the famous extended essay at University of Chicago (past topics have included ‘How do you feel about Wednesdays?’ and ‘Tell us a joke. Explain it, but don’t ruin it’), it is supposed to allow students’ personalities to come to the fore. Mr. Urbina-McCarthy advised, ‘Approach it in the way that you approach the world. If you’re a poet, approach it in a poetic way. If you’re mathematical, approach it in a mathematical way. If you’re not a comedian, don’t approach it in a comedic way, because it might not work.’

In the end, fundamentally, he said, “You can have fun writing essays – it is a great way for you to come alive on paper and distinguish yourself in the applicant pool.”

Pioneer is grateful for the time Mr. Urbina-McCarthy provided to our students. There is much greater interest in the school thanks to insights and information he provided. Due to limited space in the live session, we hope that Pioneer scholars who could not join can benefit from this summary article. Those who are interested in University of Chicago are encouraged to follow up with or get in contact with Mr. Urbina-McCarthy directly or through info@pioneeracademics.com.

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Pioneer and NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad partnership heralds an unparalleled opportunity for India’s top critical thinking teenagers. [July 12, 2015 ]

Pioneer Academics and NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad have formed a partnership based on their shared mission of providing innovative, international educational experiences to the most gifted high school students in India.

Pioneer Academics, based in the US, introduced and developed the world’s first system for online academic research mentorship by college and university professors to top high school students around the world. With its increasing spectrum of academic areas open to applicants (22 areas offered in 2015), Pioneer caters to the intellectual curiosity and passion of exceptional high school students. 272 high school scholars from 18 countries and regions have participated in Pioneer research in the past three years.

NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad, based in Mumbai, is India’s first critical thinking contest for teens. Through its online contest, NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad identifies naturally brilliant problem solvers from across India. In 2015, the Olympiad is giving scholarships worth over USD 300,000 to the top 200 students in their contest.

In this partnership, Pioneer will sponsor three full-tuition scholarships to highly gifted Indian students that have been co-selected by NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad and Pioneer in August 2015. The total value of this merit-based scholarship is USD 18,375. Partnering with renowned organizations like Next Genius, Pioneer dedicates 20 percent of its resources to fulfill its social mission.

“Pioneer is a unique independent research program that selects high school students with exceptional abilities from around the world to work directly with American university professors, ultimately producing an original research paper on a topic of their choice. We are very excited about our partnership with them and about offering these scholarships in India for the first time. This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students,” said Neeraj Mandhana, Founder of NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad.

To learn more about NEXT-GENIUS Olympiad, please visit www.next-genius.com and to learn more about Pioneer Academics, please visit www.pioneeracademics.com.

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The Pioneer Research Journal can now be read online. [January 1, 2015 ]

Here’s some exciting news for our Pioneers: You can now find the inaugural edition of The Pioneer Research Journal on our website! If you ever wondered what our Pioneer research is, now you can finally read their original thoughts and findings. Go to the Project Archive page and clink on the Documentation link to view the journal in your browser.

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Pioneer Research Journal is released [December 1, 2014 ]

After much consideration and input from participating faculty, Pioneer selected 12 of the most outstanding research papers from 2014 to publish in the first edition of the Pioneer Research Journal. The papers cover a wide range of topics, from the Brazilian economy to anxiety disorders to combinatorics and graph theory. Pioneer is very proud of the scholars who made the inaugural journal.

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Online info session held for prospective students [November 8, 2014 ]

On Saturday, November 8, a Pioneer representative held a public online information session for a small group of students. The info session gave these students a chance to learn more about what they could expect from the Pioneer research program, the students and professors who are involved, and how the program can benefit them as high school and prospective college students. It also gave each student a chance to ask specific questions to an experienced Pioneer staff member. Check back on our website for updates on future online info sessions!

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Pioneer scholars meet with Hamilton College officials in Beijing [October 28, 2014 ]

On October 28, a group of ten Pioneer scholars were given an exclusive opportunity to meet with two of the top officials from Hamilton College along with the college President while they visited Beijing. The students had a chance to talk about their Pioneer research projects and ask questions about Hamilton College admissions and academics. For a more detailed look at the meeting and some more information about Hamilton College, check out the Pioneer WeChat account.

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Pioneer researcher from South China pays a visit to his professor at Georgetown [September 19, 2014 ]

This month, a current Pioneer neuroscience scholar got a wonderful opportunity to visit his Pioneer professor in person at Georgetown University. He was able to tour the facilities and take in the sights and sounds of the campus with a neuroscience faculty member as his guide. For more on the visit and photos from the trip, check out Pioneer social media Contact Us.

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Pioneer students present their research to Vassar College physicists [August 21, 2014 ]

Recently, two high school-aged Pioneer researchers were invited to present the findings from their research projects to Professor Jenny Magnes and her Vassar College summer research assistants team. The group met online to share all of their findings on factors that influence Fraunhofer diffraction patterns and their scattering effect.

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