Pioneer Scholar Spotlight: Ethan

Pioneer Academics > News > Pioneer Scholar Spotlight: Ethan

Pioneer Scholar Spotlight: Ethan

Ethan website updates

“Ultimately, research, especially psychological research, is about helping our communities, helping people around us.”

Pioneer scholar Ethan, a third-generation Mexican-American from Austin, Texas, found his family background important to his Pioneer Research Program. With a broad interest in social sciences—he included psychology, anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies on his Pioneer application—Ethan was “really excited” to be offered a place in a cohort with a research concentration focusing on the psychology of immigration. “I’m just overjoyed that I was able to participate in it.”

When considering the overall field of immigration, Ethan knew he did not share his grandparents’ experience. He also didn’t know a great deal about it. Unlike people with European heritage who can sometimes trace their ancestors back for generations or even centuries, when it comes to immigrants from Mexico, “nobody seems to care about that history.” However, Ethan had his own experience to draw on, one he sees as a “micro-migration.”

Austin is, Ethan says, much more economically and racially segregated than he had been aware of until he began to attend a magnet school in a different neighborhood. The culture shock of moving just a small distance, from the school in his home area of southeast Austin to the new school in northeast Austin, gave Ethan insight into some of the challenges that confront immigrants to a new country—challenges of language and accent, of acculturation and assimilation, of deciding what parts of the immigrant’s native culture should be preserved. “We can have so much stress when we don’t feel someone understands our culture, and how to bridge that gap that can become like wanting to shed a part of yourself.” But Ethan is proud of his culture, and wanted to examine this phenomenon as part of his Pioneer Research Program.

Another of Ethan’s interests also played a major role in his choice of research topic: language, especially bilingualism. “Bilingualism is something that’s like a sliding scale,” he said, and “linguistic acculturation” formed the basis for his research. Ethan researched and wrote about an experience that he and his friends had all had, and that many second- and third-generation children of immigrant families experience: language brokering. This is “the process of translation, interpretation that kids do for their parents,” which coincides with “cultural brokering,” navigating the intersection between two cultures. The specific focus of Ethan’s work was the stress that this experience causes young people, and the negative effect that can have on family dynamics. One interesting result of his research was that children who have more positive attitudes toward their cultures are less likely to experience family conflict as a result of their language brokering activities.

When he begins his studies at Yale, where he hopes to continue exploring “the intersection between anthropology, sociology, psychology, cultural studies, and how those all relate,” he will be the first member of his family to go to college. He hopes he might be a professor himself some day, and would like to stay in touch with his community in Austin, perhaps being able to help make positive changes.

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