Continuing the “Pioneer on Campus” event series, we visit Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home to the University of Pennsylvania, where 59 Pioneer alumni were admitted between 2019 and 2020. A storied institution founded by statesman Benjamin Franklin over 280 years ago, Penn is one of eight Ivy League colleges, alongside Dartmouth, Yale, Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and Cornell. While the university is renowned for its academic programs, there is also ample opportunity to socialize through long standing student traditions like Hey Day and “Toasting to Dear old Penn” during football games – literally by throwing a piece of toast on the field.
Pioneer scholars (and newly minted Quakers) Ipek and Maya organized an event for fellow Pioneer alumni to join one another and discuss their research, academic interests and their new educational home in Philadelphia.
Maya (2020, political science) from Florida in the United States, felt particularly energized around bringing Pioneer alumni together. For her, it offered a chance to not only get to know more about other Pioneer scholars’ academic interests, but also to discover social connections outside of school work. “I loved meeting people through the pioneer research program and wanted to get to meet people at Penn who participated,” she said. “Organizing this event was so fun, it allowed me to get to know Ipek, as well as good snacks in the area! I think the biggest highlight was casually talking to individuals about their interests both in terms of research and academics, but also outside of academia!”
Fellow organizer Ipek (neuroscience, 2020) from Istanbul, Turkey, felt that the event was important because the common bond shared by all Pioneer scholars who went through the program can be difficult to articulate to those who have not participated. The event allowed her to connect with like minded individuals who love the research experience. “As Pioneer Scholars, we are a community of students passionate about research,” Ipek told us. “Pioneer on Campus not only allowed us to share what we know about our own fields but also provided an opportunity to learn about each other’s interests. Therefore, organizing this event with Maya allowed me to reinforce the bonds formed through shared curiosity with peer researchers and learn about new areas.”
Stay tuned for future Pioneer on Campus events at other universities. To learn more about Pioneer and our alumni network, check out our official Instagram @Pioneer_Academics, our student-run Instagram page @scholarsofpioneer, or our LinkedIn page.