Matthew Jaskol - Founder and Program Director
Matthew Jaskol founded Pioneer Academics in 2012 with the intent of offering deep intellectual exploration to outstanding young people of geographic and cultural diversity. He is a strong proponent of Pioneer’s social mission to offer need and cause-based scholarships; the company has therefore developed numerous partnerships with leading non-profit organizations.
Graduating with a BA from Skidmore College, Matthew’s early professional roles were in business advisory and technology consulting services. Matthew was a consultant at Accenture in the US and at Deloitte Consulting in China. For the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) corporate networks in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, he developed research and briefings for executives of multinationals. He has also been a correspondent for the EIU’s Business China publication.
Since completing his MBA at the Yale School of Management in 2008, Matthew has been a successful entrepreneur and early-stage company executive. A previous internet venture earned the 2010 Red Herring Asia Top 100 and Global Top 100 awards.
With wife, Amy Li, Pioneer’s Founding Director of Outreach and Communications, he enjoys caring for their little daughter and encouraging her to explore the world.
Matthew believes that passionate young scholars, if properly guided, can reach remarkable heights through their intellect, imagination, and determination. Dedicated to that belief, he drives Pioneer to create opportunities for such students. He trusts that pivotal academic experiences will empower them to create the world they envision.
Amy Li - Founding Director, Outreach and Communications
Amy Li is a Founding Director of Pioneer Academics. She leads reputation management and outreach and supports strategic planning. Prior to Pioneer, Amy founded Alpine Education in 2011 and served as CEO. Alpine’s offerings include college entrance consulting, curriculum development and personality-based individual development, the latter two were Alpine’s focus. She was an active contributor in forming the Pioneer concept and an advisor to the first pilot program. In 2014, Amy joined Pioneer as a full-time partner. To establish beyond question Pioneer’s policy of total independence from college entrance consulting, Amy discontinued Alpine’s services for individuals.
After university, Amy was employed as a PR specialist for Burson-Marsteller and Ketchum in China and was an English reporter for Radio Beijing and BTV. She subsequently earned her master’s degree in Strategic Public Relations from the journalism track of The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California. She then served as a trainer in crisis management for executives in major multinational companies, among them Shell, The British Council, Mercedes Benz, and GE. Amy also worked as a branding officer at Yale University focusing on the Chinese market. There she advised on online open courses, courses which helped spark the development of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). (This experience gave her early insight into the tremendous potential of online education, which has proved integral to Pioneer’s success.)
Amy loves reading about science, and shares her enthusiasm with husband Matthew Jaskol, Founder and Director of Pioneer, and their little daughter.
From her high school days, Amy wished to make a difference in the world and dreamed of being a journalist because journalists serve as the voice of the public. Through her experiences as a trainer, she saw the profound potential of education which can shape the future of humanity and have an even greater impact on individuals and society as a whole.
Andy Tonsing - Associate Director of Academic Outreach
Andy Tonsing is an Associate Director of Academic Outreach for Pioneer Academics. For the past three years, Andy has contributed to Pioneer’s team in Beijing, China, and Berkeley, USA, where he currently resides. Andy works on outreach in North America and supports Pioneer scholars academically through managing the Writing Center and through online research training.
Andy graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a bachelor's degree in international relations. In 2010, he moved to Beijing where he developed near fluency in Mandarin and built experience and skills in the areas of public relations, education and entrepreneurship. At Ogilvy & Mather, he was part of a three-person team that managed foreign media relationships for clients like Adidas, Lenovo, Nokia and Intel. Andy found his passion for education at Alpine Education, where he worked in an entrepreneurial environment developing innovative programs that prepared international students to succeed in Western education systems.
Andy believes that the best education should not only prepare one for career success but should also enrich life and open the mind. He is especially excited about making such enriching education accessible to people who would not otherwise access to it.
Lucia Murillo - International Partnership Manager
Lucia Murillo is responsible for International Outreach in Pioneer, focusing on the development of new partnerships outside of the US. She moved to Beijing from Spain in 2008 to act as Investment Officer in the Spanish Embassy as part of the Internationalization Program for Young Professionals of the Ministry of Commerce.
Prior to Pioneer, she developed her career on market research, specializing on consumer products in Asia, and worked in projects for organizations such as the International Olive Council and the Ministry of Economy of Poland and for European companies. She received her double bachelor degree in Law and Business from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and her master degree in International Business Management by the Centro de Estudios Economicos y Comerciales.
From her own personal experience, Lucia is aware of the value that the right mentor can add at a personal and professional level. That, and her firm believe in education as a force for change, drawn her to join the Pioneer team.
After earning a Master’s degree in College Student Personnel, Rit Fuller started his 37-year career in college admissions at Rochester Institute of Technology, rising through the ranks to Director of Admission.
Rit served as Director of Admission at Johns Hopkins University and later as Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Hamilton College. Since his departure in 2003, he has assisted many institutions in his role as an admission and enrollment consultant. He currently serves as the first Vice President for Enrollment Management at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute.
Some past clients have included NYU, Syracuse University, Champlain College, Ithaca College, Drew University, Franklin & Marshall, Union College, Nazareth College, Grinnell College, Lafayette College, and the University of San Diego.
Rit is a member of the National Association of College Admission Counselors, the New York State Association of College Admission Counselors and is a Trustee of Franklin & Marshall College.
When asked about his motivation to contribute to Pioneer, Rit stated the following: “I’ve had the opportunity to meet with countless students and review thousands of applications to some of the most selective colleges in the US. As a dean of admission you are looking for those unique abilities or experiences that set a candidate apart. Students who participate in the Pioneer Research program have had that difference-making experience.“
Timothy Elgren* is the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Oberlin College. Tim began his academic and administrative career at Hamilton College where he was a professor of bio-inorganic chemistry and where he served in a number of administrative roles, including associate dean of faculty, affirmative action officer, chair of the Biochemistry/Molecular Biology Program, and coordinator of the Network for Teaching and Learning.
He has also been a strong advocate for undergraduate research, having served as president (2004) and member of the Executive Committee of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) in Washington, D.C. (2003-06). He served three terms as a CUR chemistry councilor (1997-2006). For CUR, he also co-edited Developing and Sustaining a Research-Supportive Curriculum: A Compendium of Successful Practices (2007).
Tim mentored three Pioneer students during the summer of 2013. He describes those students as exemplary young scholars, passionate about intellectual inquiry and ready for college work. The work they produced was extraordinary for high school students; in some cases comparable to the best students he taught at Hamilton College, where he taught for 21 years. The students went on to attend some of America’s best schools, including Princeton, Carnegie Mellon and Claremont McKenna. The Pioneer program exemplifies the best of student/faculty collaboration with both parties benefiting greatly from the experience.
*Tim has volunteered his services in this role since Pioneer Academic’s inception.