Pioneer Open Summer Study – POSS

Independent Study Details

Pandemics and Globalization: Economics, Culture and Policy

In five lectures this course will present the following premise and themes:

The pandemic and its economic fallout will affect students around the world for the next five years.

Leaders and citizens in each country will have to redefine what are the ongoing  advantages, new risks and  future challenges in our  global interdependence and interconnectivity.

Globalization is a very broad term, often associated with US market capitalism, but it also has broad implications across all societies and governments.  It can and should be interpreted not as a political but an economic and cultural construct which has policy implications.

This series of lectures will focus on 3 aspects:

Economic impact: how has Covid-19, which shut down the global economy for over 2 months, impacted:

  • Global trade: Trade balances, flows, “trade wars”, tariffs?
  • Global finance (banks and markets), movement of capital?
  • Global labor markets?

Cultural: Globalization is also a cultural construct: the free flow of ideas, information and cultural manifestations:

  • How has Covid-19 impacted flows of information?
  • What is the impact of Covid-19 on international education, student exchanges and cross border events?
  • Globalization is interlinked with free movement of persons, services and ideas? What is the impact of Covid-19?
  • What is the impact (economic and cultural) of a global paradigmatic shift from analog to digital

Policy: Covid-19 produced a cataclysmic shock: what can policy makers do?

  • Economic policies: Role of central banks, role of state bailouts, role of multilateral institutions: IMF, World Bank, development banks
  • Cultural policies: Role of   school systems, universities, NGOs, art , press and media.
  • What policies intersect in trying to help countries recover?


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:

  • POSS students do not undergo the Pioneer Research Program’s rigorous admissions process.
  • Student POSS projects will NOT be considered as Pioneer Research Program’s work because they are not scrutinized through Pioneer’s academic procedures and standards. Pioneer thus can NOT provide records endorsing the work’s authenticity and quality for POSS participants in their college applications.
  • Students with POSS experience will not receive a grade or certificate from Pioneer, regardless of what personal opinion the professor holds about the study projects.
  • POSS is NOT college credit bearing as the Pioneer Research Program is.

About the Study


This course will provide five lectures on the main themes described in the course statement.
The goal is to introduce these students to a range of topics related to one theme.
Each of these topics has on line open access materials available.
A group of 25 students will be divided into 3 or 4 groups which will choose one specific theme to study and discuss: (i.e. 6 or 7 students select Economic impact of Covid-19: they choose trade or finance, or labor or a combination (these themes can interrelate).
The final project can be a short video, PowerPoint or oral report (if possible).

Irene Finel-Honigman, Adjunct Professor of International Affairs in the International Finance and Economic Policy concentration teaches International Banking and EU banking and policy courses since 2001. Recipient of Title VI, CIBER, ISERP and SIPA Faculty grants, her recent publications include International Banking for a New Century, co-author Fernando B.Sotelino (Routledge, 2015) and A Cultural History of Finance (Routledge, 2009, reissued in 2013). She is a Senior Fellow at the East West Institute, serves on advisory boards, consults and provides press and media commentary on European financial, policy and US-EU relations including 2016 US election and Brexit for Bloomberg News Radio and TV, Europe 1, Radio France 24, NPR Radio, Le Monde, The Huffington Post, La Libre Belgique. A member of the Board of Directors of the International Trade and Finance Association, she has served on the Board of the French American Chamber of Commerce, French American Foundation, Maison Francaise. Previous positions include Senior Advisor on Finance Policy, U.S. Department of Commerce during the Clinton Administration, Chair of Foreign Languages, New School for Social Research, Director of French Programs, Credit Lyonnais and has taught at Johns Hopkins and CUNY. Born in France, she holds a PhD from Yale University and a BA from Barnard College.

Time: 10:00am~11:15am EDT
Dates: July 4; July 11; July 18; July 25; Aug 01
Recording posted date: each Tuesday after the weekend class


This is not a research project but an opportunity to present, learn and interact on a given topic:
The final project will require for the students learn within their group to:
• Synthesize their findings
• Create a clear and concise presentation of their main points and conclusions
• Work within a team to achieve these goals.
• Learn how to identify and use open access public information from the best sources:
IMF (Reports and Financial Blog), World Bank, United Nations Labor Organization, World Employment Outlook (2020) , Brookings Institution (A Policy Framework April 2020), Economic Impact in US and Abroad (SAIS, Johns Hopkins).


To be eligible to participate in Pioneer Open Summer Study, the following requirements must be met:

  • Teams must have a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 students.
  • Participating students should be in grades 9 through 12.  For Scheduled Participation teams, at least two team members and the Captain of the team must be in 10th or 11th grade.
  • The Captain needs to get a teacher to sign as the observer. In some cases, Pioneer may offer additional support from alumni of the research program, and in such cases, Pioneer may have to prioritize the Pioneer alumni support to 10th and 11th grade teams if the demand for support exceeds support resources.
  • Each team must have one team member serve as the team Captain. The Captain’s responsibility is to ensure team formation, team attendance, timely completion of the work, communication with high school faculty observer, and all other coordination.
  • Each team is required to get its school guidance counselor or school faculty to sign a written consent to check in for at least three updates on a study group.
  • Scheduled Participation teams have to be committed to attending a set schedule of the online classes. The detailed schedules will be released in June. The time commitment requirement may work best for students with flexibility in the summer.
  • If any member of a Scheduled Participation team is late for or misses up to two Scheduled Participation classes, or if a Scheduled Participation team as a whole misses one Scheduled class, the team then loses its Scheduled Participation eligibility.
  • All teams need to behave and communicate academically and appropriately. Inappropriate language or communication will lead to termination of participation.
  • Because Pioneer is offering this program at no cost, Pioneer does not guarantee any result or outcome from participation or any service or support. Pioneer is not responsible for conflict, failure or anxiety among the study teams related to POSS.
  • During the self-directed independent study stage, Pioneer Research Program alumni, who have previously done research in similar fields of study with the Pioneer Research Program, may hold online office hours to help students answer questions. Team Captains or designated members are required attend any online office hours meeting that they schedule.
  • Each Scheduled Participation team will most likely be required to give a final presentation and the recording of the presentation will be uploaded on POSS-designated web space. Team members may be able to include the link to the presentation in their college applications.
  • Each Self-Paced team is required to upload a final presentation recording on the POSS designated web space. POSS participants may be able to choose to add the link to their college application. POSS presenters are encouraged to invite Pioneer Research alumni, school friends or school teachers and counselors to attend the presentation.

Form Your Team

1. Registration open till August 1
2. Registration to enter lottery June 14

Teams must be made up of:
  • 1 student team captain
  • 4-9 other students from your school
  • 1 high school guidance counselor or teacher

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.”

Watch the video

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.


  • 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.

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