Marshall Establishes Academy for Young Rising Scientists – Encouraged by Addison L. of SJHS

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – When 15-year-old Addison Leaberry asked to meet with Marshall University’s President Jerry Gilbert last fall, she had no idea he would agree to meet. She also had no idea that he would take her seriously.

When speaking with Gilbert, Leaberry recommended a new enrichment program for local high school students who hope to learn more about math and science while gaining exposure to a college environment.

Less than one year later, with inspiration from Leaberry, Marshall University has established the Marshall Academy of Rising Scientists (MARS) for academically qualified students who demonstrate an interest in science. The inaugural program will launch June 15 and 16 at the university’s Huntington campus.

“We don’t have a program like this in our local area. I attended a science-based anatomy and physiology camp at Appalachian State last summer and could not find anything like this available to me close to home,” Leaberry said. “I am planning to go to MARS and have encouraged others at my high school to go as well.”

High school sophomores, juniors and seniors must apply by June 12th to reserve their spot for the two-day program, according to Rick Walker, a university biological sciences instructor and coordinator of the program.

“Requirements for mission training include a grade point average of 3.0 with registration limited to 44 participants,” Walker said. “Each day’s schedule consists of two interactive morning presentations, lunch provided by the university, two afternoon presentations and a ‘spacewalk,’ or extra-vehicular activity (EVA). The two EVAs include a tour of the academic facilities on the first day and a tour of residential housing the following afternoon.”

The cost to attend MARS is $100. Attendees who want a T-shirt need to register by June 1. To register, visit or contact the Office of Continuing Education at 304-696-6649 or email to learn more. Follow the MARS Facebook page at MARS @ Marshall University:


Addison Leaberry, a 15-year old student at St. Joseph’s High School, provided inspiration for Marshall University’s new MARS program when she asked to meet with the university’s President Gilbert in Fall 2016.