Pioneer’s academic placement process assigns Pioneer scholars to cohorts with a specialized research concentration. These cohorts are very small––no more than six students and a faculty mentor––yet they are truly international, welcoming students from all over the globe. In these cohorts, Pioneer scholars have the chance to interact with peers with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, connecting over a shared love of learning. These international cohorts enhance the Pioneer experience, both personally and academically.
For many students, it is not until attending university that they have meaningful interactions with peers from different parts of the world. Hannah Travali-Peacock (political science, 2019), was grateful for her international experience in the Pioneer research program before starting university last fall. “I’ve met a bunch of international friends at [university]…but I think I would have been a lot more intimidated to talk to those people if I hadn’t been the only American in my [Pioneer] cohort,” she explains. “It was a completely new experience for me, learning with students from China and Tunisia and Turkey. That was something that I learned how to do––I learned to recognize that not everyone sees things through an American lens, and thus you have to consider other international perspectives. That was something super helpful for me.”
An international cohort enriches academic discussions by providing diverse viewpoints and experiences. Neha (international relations, 2020), a Pioneer scholar from the United States, found that an international cohort was of particular educational value in her research area. “The people in my [cohort] were from across the world and they were able to provide unique perspectives when we were talking about global politics… I got really cool perspectives on these issues I might have learned about in history class or on the news, but it was coming from someone in a different country than me and therefore had different information or different ideas about what I was hearing,” she explains.
Nidhi (engineering, 2019), a Pioneer scholar from India, learned how to work with international peers while learning about their cultures through the lens of engineering. “I learned how to work with people from different countries. I did my peer review with students from China and Turkey, and we learned about things that were important to our society. For example, one of my classmates had designed an app that would help farmers monitor their crops, and I had designed something related to screen usage. Another student had developed something that monitors the health of the elderly. So through all their solutions, I learned more about the societies they lived in and what kind of places they come from,” she explains.
Pioneer Academics is a vibrant community of scholars with alumni from 58 countries and regions across the globe. Nowhere is this more apparent than in cohorts, where connections are made and relationships forged. In sharing their unique perspectives, Pioneer scholars enrich the educational experience of their peers. Cohort sessions help Pioneer scholars become well-rounded global citizens capable of transcending national boundaries. These skills are invaluable in academia and in life.