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.

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 last fall.

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 Thursday, June 15, and Friday, June 16, at the university’s Huntington campus.

“We don’t have a program like this in our local area,” Leaberry said. “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. I am planning to go to MARS and have encouraged others at my high school to go as well.”

High school students who will be sophomores, juniors and seniors this fall must apply by Monday, June 12, to reserve their spot for the two-day program, according to Dr. 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. Applicants who want T-shirts need to register by June 1. To register, visit www.marshall.edu/MARS or contact the Office of Continuing Education at 304-696-6649. E-mailmccallist118@live.marshall.edu to learn more. Follow the MARS Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1373312896064130/ or search MARS@ Marshall University.