Ananya Lukhi I
High School: Welham Girls’ School, India
Pioneer Research Paper: Social Energy Leads to Better Health

“Pioneer has been a life changing experience for me, it has given so much more context and meaning to my life. Pioneer has taught me the true sense of research, understanding the context of every word in which is being spoken or read. ”


Pioneer is well respected for its rigorous academic standards which apply to both the faculty members and the students. This means succeeding in Pioneer requires students’ strong commitment and dedication.

Pioneer is known as selective and is respected by top universities.

From the former Associate Director of Admissions - University of Pennsylvania & Wharton

Here you can listen directly to a former veteran admissions officer of Penn & Wharton about his insight of Pioneer Scholars when he read their applications to Penn.

What is the Pioneer Research Program?

The Pioneer Research Program provides undergraduate-level research opportunities to talented, intellectually motivated high school students from around the world. It is the only online credit-bearing research program for high school students that offers STEM, social sciences and humanities disciplines.

In the Pioneer Research Program, selected students work one-on-one with leading U.S. university professors in advanced study and research of a topic of their interest, culminating in a full-length research paper. The program is conducted entirely online, allowing high school students from all over the world to participate.

2,040 students from 49 countries and regions have participated in the program since 2012.

Pioneer Academic Oversight

Pioneer and Oberlin College collaborate in the following areas to ensure the rigor of the academic operations.

Academic quality control
Pioneer collaborates with an Oberlin committee to conduct academic quality control. Pioneer insists on rigorous policies and procedures that include:

  • Screening faculty
  • Faculty orientation
  • Accurate description of professorship
  • Development and evaluation of pedagogical rubrics
  • Review of research product and evaluation quality
Inside Higher ED features the Pioneer Oberlin collaboration.

Pioneer's Rigorous Academic Operations in collaboration with Oberlin College


Pioneer 2018 Statistics

2018 student enrollment: 527 (spring and summer terms)
Countries and regions represented: 23

Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Canada, China, China Hong Kong, Greece, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Macedonia, New Zealand, Rwanda, The United Kingdom, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, The United States, Vietnam

High school year:

Pioneer research scholars attend hundreds of high schools around the world. Below is a list that highlights a few of them:

2018 Program Grades:
Pioneer Research Program grade distribution for 2018 (program grade and number of students who received it):

College credit

The Pioneer Research Program is the only online U.S.- college credit-bearing research program for high school students that offers STEM, social sciences, and humanities disciplines with 28 research areas to choose from.

Students selected into Pioneer will receive two college credits if they pass the program. The ground breaking collaboration between Pioneer Academics and Oberlin College ensures that the quality of the research mentorship is held to the highest standards in order to qualify for college credit.

Pioneer’s credibility allows Pioneer scholars to demonstrate their genuine passion and true academic ability through Pioneer’s rigorous system.

Completion of the Pioneer Research Program is listed in college applications as a college course, not an activity or camp, because of the rigorous requirements of its academic system. Pioneer Scholars need to contact their counselors or Pioneer’s team to learn more if necessary.

Pioneer’s college credits granted by Oberlin College are readily transferable to other colleges. Pioneer alumni need to ask Oberlin College to send the Pioneer transcript to the destination institution. The registrar’s office of the receiving institution will decide if the credits will be accepted.

Because of its unique academic system, exemplary standards, and proven integrity, Pioneer’s credibility is respected by selective universities and colleges.

Learn more

Academic resources

Pioneer’s research skills training courses support students’ research progress

Pioneer’s academic department is responsible for developing and improving our academic research foundation curriculum and functions that include research methodology courses, the writing center, and training on research tools.

Oberlin digital library

Pioneer scholars are granted access to enviable digital research library resources, including academic journals, academic databases, digital music and art libraries, and over 100,000 e-books.


Pioneer qualifies its mentoring faculty based on academics and passion for teaching.

Institutions at which Pioneer Faculty Are Employed:

Amherst College
Brown University
Bowdoin College
California Institute of Technology
Carleton College
Carnegie Mellon University
Claremont McKenna College
Columbia University
Davidson College
Emory University
Georgetown University
Hamilton College

Harvard University
Johns Hopkins University
New York University
Northwestern University
University of Pennsylvania
Pomona College
Princeton University
Rice University
Vassar College
Washington and Lee University
Wellesley College
Wesleyan University
The United States Military Academyat West Point

The material I deliver to these high school students is exactly the same as in my college classes. For example, we use Arend Lijphart’s Patterns of Democracy, the same text I use in my comparable upper-division Rice seminar. I take a subset of the modules from my Rice course for juniors and seniors and use it with my high schoolers.

Professor of Political ScienceRice University

Pioneer Research Journal

The Pioneer Research Journal, an annual publication, selects the best papers nominated by faculty research mentors each year.

Papers are selected by a blind review conducted by our Pioneer Research Journal reading committee. This committee is composed of over 40 senior college faculty representing over 30 disciplines.

Blind review means that the faculty who review nominated papers do not know who the student author or mentoring professors are. In 2018, the top 4.7% of the papers were selected for publication in the Pioneer Research Journal.

Pioneer Journal Selection Rates

Pioneer never promises academic journal publication to students. This is important to note as predatory open access publishing has become a toxic issue that devalues valid academic scholarship.

Pioneer’s academics staff may give students an orientation on how to search for peer-reviewed reputable journals, such as those listed in the Scientific Journal Rankings (SJR) for publishing possibilities. If a professor-mentor believes a student’s research is of publishable quality, the professor may choose to invite the student to collaborate on co-authorship. In such cases, Pioneer supervises this process and does not allow a student to be listed as a co-author without material contribution.

Schools Are Proud of Their Students Taking on the Pioneer Challenge

Carondelet High School, one of the top schools in California, features four students as Pioneer Research Scholars on their website.
Pine Crest School, one of the top schools in Florida, congratulates their students participating in Pioneer.
Pine Crest School, one of the top schools in Florida, congratulates their student whose paper was published in the Pioneer Research Journal (from school website.)
One of the top international schools in Hong Kong, Chinese International School, recommends the Pioneer experience to their most academically motivated students
One of California's top schools, York School posts on their website the Pioneer Research Program in school's recommendations for summer programs.
Pioneer is recognized and recommended by Duke TIP (Talent Identification Program) to gifted students in the US.
Davidson Institute for Talent Development recommends Pioneer Research Program to interested students.

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.
  • 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 or calling 855-572-8863.


Matthew Jaskol

Founder & Program Director