Pioneer Open Summer Study – POSS

The completely free & exciting online research alternative

Celebrating 171 teams’ discoveries and successes

Letter from the Director

Because of the novel coronavirus, we are facing a time of unprecedented challenge. Life in so many ways has come to a near halt. Students nearing college, however, can’t stop working towards their academic goals, and educators must guide them in spite of the hardships and difficulties the virus has imposed.

Pioneer therefore put together a new program — the Pioneer Open Summer Study (POSS) — for every student who is interested and committed. Pioneer’s academic panel took on this additional initiative as a priority. The academic panel put together the resources, picked relevant topics and designed the curriculum framework to meet the unique and pressing needs and interests of students during the pandemic. We will launch four exciting study themes that Pioneer faculty will host through recorded workshops and which students can take on as independent summer projects.

The Online Research Alternative For Very Curious Minds

Pioneer’s Open Summer Study (POSS) was a dynamic alternative to Pioneer’s online research program and/or an interesting supplement to other summer programs. It was offered at no cost to students. It was designed to empower student project aspirations or intellectual enrichment needs during the challenging summer of 2020.

Pioneer’s academic panel took on this additional initiative as a priority. The academic panel put together the resources, picked relevant topics and designed the curriculum framework to meet the unique and pressing needs and interests of students during the pandemic.

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Congratulations to the 1078 POSS participants for concluding the open study sessions this summer!

Your effort is the highlight of your summer and your discoveries through POSS will drive your academic curiosity with confidence.

Disclaimer

Please read the following important notice about POSS.

Pioneer Open Summer Study (POSS) is completely independent from the Pioneer Research Program. Students who participate in POSS CANNOT list POSS as a Pioneer Research Program credit in their college applications for the following reasons:

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The POSS Community

POSS attracted a special community of learners from four continents. Professors, students, Pioneer alumni and Pioneer staff members all valued this opportunity and were completely dedicated to the success of this initiative.  We are excited to introduce you to just a few of the volunteers whose commitment to POSS was evident throughout the summer.

Voices of POSS Participants

“In this summer vacation, I was honored to participate in POSS and became a team leader. As a self-paced team captain, in addition to learning more about the pandemic and economy, the most important thing for me to explore is the leadership. Arranging the plan, monitoring the process, all of these are far more difficult than I thought. For some reasons, we have gone through some staff changes since the team was formed. Fortunately, we changed and completed our seminar in time. Thanks to this project and all of my teammates! I learnt that the potential of humans is limitless.”
CRGRC Yuxin Li (Cindy)

“I have acquired many skills on my POSS journey that I am very excited to use in the future. My professor has taught me how to find answers to questions that I never thought of before and how to research events from centuries ago. I have also learned how to relate sources from years ago to current world events. POSS has taught me teamwork skills and communication, which is crucial in all aspects of success. As team captain, I can say that my team has utilized these skills many times throughout our journey. We discuss lectures together and help answer each other’s questions.

My team and I are proud to say that we have chosen to focus our research on what people understood about the plague during the time period of the Black Plague.”

–Captain Kiran Ahmad, Lab Rats

Voices of POSS Independent Study Advisor

 

“Being an ISA for the POSS program is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. Organizing office hours for students gave me the chance to host discussions and discover new perspectives. The thought provoking conversations I engaged in during my role as an ISA- about new socio-economic policy, thinking like an economist, and analyzing political changes- helped me realize the potential that we, as future changemakers, have and the responsibility we share towards our environment.

I am so glad I spent this summer celebrating curiosity and intellect and working with such talented and driven students.”

Gayatri Sharma
Country: India
Pioneer alumni who will begin her first year at Barnard College this fall

Voices of POSS Professors

“Given the ennui most young people are currently experiencing as a result of being locked in their apartments, Pioneer adopted a rather startling initiative.  It offered to secondary students courses on a range of subjects that would be taught by college and university professors in coordination with their secondary school teachers.  Despite the value of this education, for these students there was no charge whatsoever.

 In the process of teaching my section I encountered highly motivated, bright, young people who were capable of dealing with both abstract and concrete materials of considerable difficulty.  As a result, I am quite optimistic about their futures.”

Douglas Raybeck
Professor of Anthropology Emeritus
Hamilton College

“The POSS program has been a terrific and rewarding opportunity to work with teams of high school students who have voluntarily devoted part of this COVID-19 summer to studying the age of plague and the lessons it can offer us as we live through a global pandemic.  When students engage in collaborative research on a topic of their own choice, not for a grade or to fulfill a requirement, they are truly understanding the value of learning as a lifelong endeavor.  I have been inspired by their passion and dedication.”

Professor Paula Findlen

“I told them from day one, I wanted this to be an active, engaged discussion about these topics,” Veselik says. “As you know, the models and the impacts are changing by the week, by the day. So just to have that kind of discussion and see the type of work the students are doing has been really impressive.”

Professor David Veselik

POSS Results & Accomplishments

It is an honor to have a collection of work from POSS participants. This is an open outlet for POSS teams who opted to present and share their work with the community. These authentic reports and presentations were completed by the teams individually and independently. This page is shared only with the community of registered POSS teams so it is password protected.

I have a password and would like to proceed to the collection page

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Quotes directly from Matthew Pohl

Pioneer’s Respected Selectivity

“There are very few selective summer programs out there that emphasize research. Pioneer is one of very few selective summer undergraduate research opportunities, and that’s something that’s known among college admissions officers at top universities.”

Pioneer’s Leadership mindset

“I believe Pioneer’s system really prepared students for the leadership mindset.”

Credibility through academic system

“Oberlin College is considered one of the top liberal arts colleges in the U.S. If they are partnering with an organization that provides excellent programs to students, then there’s credibility there. Automatically.”

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The Pioneer Research Program is the ONLY global college-credit-bearing program in which students conduct
research one-on-one
with a professor online in Pioneer’s rigorous system.

Foundational Research Seminars

Pioneer offers virtual seminars on research methodologies in addition to subject sessions.

Pioneer Writing Center

Pioneer’s writing center follows the highest ethical standards in providing academic writing support to
Pioneer scholars.

Online Library

  • About 400 research databases and journals.
  • Over 100,000 e-books.

Academic Oversight

Pioneer and Oberlin College jointly administer academic oversight.

Accomplishment Endorsed by Pioneer

It is well known that Pioneer holds the highest academic standards. Research accomplishments through Pioneer are trusted and respected.

College Credit

Pioneer scholars earn two college credits and the Pioneer Research Program is categorized as a college course, instead of just an extracurricular activity, on college applications.

Tuition

  • Pioneer’s tuition is 6,450 US dollars.
  • As part of its social mission, Pioneer Academics dedicates funds every year to need-based scholarships for students to participate in the Pioneer Research Program. These funds are very limited and their use is restricted to cases in which the need of the students’ family can be reliably accredited. Students are eligible for these scholarships in countries where need can be assessed or if they are part of a non-profit organization or an educational institution that can assess need.

Pioneer believes curiosity and commitment are unstoppable!

Dear educators and students,

Because of the novel coronavirus, we are facing a time of unprecedented challenge. Life in so many ways has come to a near halt. Students nearing college, however, can’t stop working towards their academic goals, and educators must guide them in spite of the hardships and difficulties the virus has imposed.

Pioneer has received a spike of applications to its Research Program, in part due to COVID-19. Applications have made evident the anxiety and nervous eagerness of students to engage in a meaningful summer program they can do from the security of their homes. The result is that our competitive admission process has become even more competitive this year.

With each worthy student we have to turn down or put on our wait list, our admissions team feels genuinely concerned and dismayed not to be able to offer the opportunity to cultivate academic curiosity. It is this concern that drove us to take on our own challenge in this challenging time.

Pioneer therefore put together a new program -- the Pioneer Open Summer Study (POSS) -- for every student who is interested and committed. Pioneer’s academic panel took on this additional initiative as a priority. The academic panel put together the resources, picked relevant topics and designed the curriculum framework to meet the unique and pressing needs and interests of students during the pandemic. We will launch four exciting study projects that Pioneer faculty will host through recorded workshops and which students can take on as independent summer projects.

Click to expand to learn more about Pioneer Open Summer Study

Though Pioneer’s Open Summer Study (POSS) is outside the academic system of the Pioneer Research Program, it does offer students an opportunity for structured, meaningful exploration of one of four multi-disciplinary problems facing our times. Pioneer is determined to support today’s young academic community by removing barriers to meaningful summer study because we believe true curiosity and commitment is, and should be, unstoppable.

Sincerely,

Matthew Jaskol

Pioneer Co-Founder and Program Director

  • Considering students have significantly fewer options for their summer enrichment, Pioneer adjusted the cohort size from maximum 5 to maximum 6 so that we can offer the opportunity to more students. Please be aware that Pioneer will only expand cohorts which we feel sure will not be compromised in any way by a slight increase in participation. Some areas, therefore, may stay at a maximum of 5 because the nature of the course requires heavier coaching.

 

  • Pioneer admissions still requires the same application materials, but we may adjust the timing in response to current realities. If you can work with your counselor to collect your official transcript and counselor evaluation and submit them soon after you submit your application, it will speed up the process. Pioneer admissions requires an official transcript and counselor evaluation to process applications for the final round. If these items won't be available during the process due to COVID-19, applicants must submit evidence that the school's counseling office is closed. Pioneer admissions will then decide what adjustment shall be granted.

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 info@pioneeracademics.com or calling 855-572-8863.

Best,

Matthew Jaskol

Founder & Program Director