Pioneer Academics gives high school students the chance to conduct original, authentic research with top university professors. This is made possible through Pioneer’s unique academic system. The Pioneer Writing Center is an essential piece of this academic system, as it allows Pioneer scholars to grow as writers and produce a high-caliber final paper. While Pioneer scholars are bright and highly motivated, they are not expected to write a full-length academic research paper without guidance.
Pioneer scholars submit a series of drafts to the Pioneer Writing Center, where tutors review their papers and provide guidance related to grammar, word choice, organization and more. Complying to Pioneer’s academic ethical requirements, Writing Center tutors are not allowed to edit papers; instead they provide detailed comments and examples that teach Pioneer scholars how to fix errors on their own.
While all Pioneer scholars can benefit enormously from this feedback, it is particularly helpful for scholars who were educated in a language other than English. According to Kathryn Lalime, who, as Operations Director, manages the Pioneer Writing Center, “The Pioneer Writing Center is an important part of the Pioneer Research Program and supports the scholars’ growth as academic writers. The writing center enhances the overall Pioneer experience by giving profound insights to improve their research papers, as well as inspiring our scholars to achieve their goal of writing a research paper they can be proud of.” In this article, Pioneer scholars share the importance of the Writing Center in their Pioneer experience.
Pioneer writing tutors give targeted feedback to help Pioneer scholars transition from a rough draft to an organized final paper. Isa (United States, chemistry, 2020) found this assistance invaluable when writing her Pioneer research paper. “The Pioneer Writing Center helped me a lot with putting the draft together as a final paper. For example, they said my structure could be clearer in the beginning by defining the problem I was addressing. They also suggested adding an abstract to make it easier for readers to understand,” she explains.
Even for strong writers, getting objective feedback is an essential part of the writing process. Sannivas (India, math, 2019) explains, “You can develop a one-sided perspective on what you’re doing because you’ve been working on this one paper alone for so long. You lose an objective viewpoint on what you’re doing. That’s the reason you really need to ensure you’re getting feedback through every step of the process.” Because Pioneer scholars have the option of submitting their paper to the Writing Center multiple times, it may be read by several different tutors, all of whom provide helpful feedback and a fresh set of eyes.
For Pioneer scholars who do not speak English as a native language, the Writing Center is all the more invaluable. This was true for Seungmin (South Korea, business, 2019), who benefited greatly from the guidance and support offered by Writing Center tutors. “I am from a non-English-speaking country and English is not my native language, so it was hard for me to write such a long research paper in English. It was quite a challenge for me, but because of the awesome Writing Center team, I got a lot of help. I had a lot of red lines across my first draft, but the Writing Center tutors guided my corrections,” she explains. This experience was empowering for Seungmin, as she realized that she was capable of accomplishing more than she originally believed. “After writing a research paper in English, which I was kind of afraid of, I learned that I could do it if I pushed myself. It gave me a lot of courage,” she says.
Knowing that writing is a process and that the Pioneer Writing Center is there to help with the steps along the way can free Pioneer scholars from the paralysis of starting a first draft. Janae-Rose (United States, anthropology, 2019) advises Pioneer scholars to just get started; in writing out ideas, new ideas often reveal themselves. “Don’t be afraid if your first draft doesn’t really make sense, because there are more drafts to come. The Writing Center is super helpful and can guide you,” she says.
The Pioneer Writing Center is an essential resource for Pioneer scholars and an important facet of Pioneer’s academic system. Writing Center tutors provide the scaffolding Pioneer scholars require to write a college-level academic research paper. Following Pioneer’s academic standards and philosophy, Writing Center tutors empower students to grow as writers and researchers.