Pioneer’s rigorous academic system provides the foundation for students’ creativity in solving global problems

Pioneer Academics > News > Pioneer’s rigorous academic system provides the foundation for students’ creativity in solving global problems

Pioneer’s rigorous academic system provides the foundation for students’ creativity in solving global problems


According to education reformer Sir Ken Robinson, addressing the complex problems of the modern world will require a generation of creative thinkers in all fields. “The challenges we currently face are without precedent,” he says.  “More people live on this planet now than at any other time in history…We’re facing an increasing strain on the world’s natural resources. Technology is advancing at a headlong rate of speed. This is really new, and we’re going to need every ounce of ingenuity, imagination, and creativity to confront these problems.①” Involving students in the search for solutions to authentic, 21st century problems inspires engagement and creativity, and will help set up students as creative problem solvers in a rapidly changing, connected world.  

At Pioneer, creativity is a prerequisite for the research students perform over 28 research areas. Adopting a problem-solving mindset is one way that students can generate ideas and ask original questions. Pioneer’s unique academic system supports students through the research process by providing a research methodology and academic content. Students adapt these tools in new and exciting ways in search of solutions to problems that interest them. 

Jumana, a Pioneer scholar from Bangladesh (Computational Quantum Chemistry, 2019), came to Pioneer hoping to research novel solutions to the global energy crisis. “I was attracted by the possibility of perhaps creating some organic polymers which could produce electricity,” she explains. “Especially right now, renewable resources are so important since petrol will be depleted… we need to be able to find new sources of energy. One of the best ways is to use nature all around us.” By starting with a problem and working backwards to generate questions, Jumana was able to contribute original research in a subject she feels passionate about.

Mrinalini, a Pioneer scholar from India (History, 2018), found her research topic while on a family vacation in Botswana. On this trip, she was confronted with the country’s public health crisis in managing the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  “I had a really powerful conversation with someone who was saying that the young people in this country would be lucky if they survived to age 40 or 50. I immediately knew what I was going to do,” she says. What puzzled Mrinalini––as well as many other scholars––is that despite government stability and a public health system capable of implementing policies that should have curtailed the spread of HIV/AIDS, Botswana was unable to control the epidemic. Mrinalini sought out a fresh way of looking at this problem, called the Botswana Paradox by some scholars. To do so, she reached across disciplines, taking stakeholder analysis––a methodology most often associated with business and public policy––and applying it to history in order to understand the 1990’s AIDS crisis in Botswana. Mrinalini concluded that a major flaw in the policy was the government’s failure to include key stakeholders, such as religious and spiritual leaders.

Our future depends on a generation of creative problem solvers–but it won’t appear overnight. Ingenuity, imagination, and creativity must be nurtured. Pioneer does just that by giving deeply curious students the framework, tools, and standards to conduct authentic research. When students are engaged in solving problems that matter–to themselves, their communities, or the world–creativity follows. Approaching issues with fresh eyes, Pioneer scholars ask original questions, link concepts across disciplines, and find solutions by observing the world around them.


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