Marin Academy Research Collaborative

Marin Academy supports student interests in many ways. Our STEM research program allows students to follow interests and questions in a manner that fosters independence and healthy risk taking while offering support along the way.

Program Overview

The Marin Academy Research Collaborative (MARC) program is specifically designed to engage a diverse group of students in cutting-edge science and engineering research that is characteristic of college-level courses. This two-year, multidisciplinary program supports students in building strong science literacy and research skills and empowers them to partner with the scientific community to contribute meaningfully to relevant research in their selected fields of interest. Students generate a novel research question, conduct a rigorous literature review, collaborate with content-area experts, develop hypotheses, collect and analyze data, and learn how to publicly present, as well as publish their work.
Students may choose a topic from engineering and computer sciences, physical sciences, life sciences, social sciences, or psychology that piques their curiosity. Students collaborate with content-area experts, and with the guidance and support of the MARC coordinator, identify an outside mentor to help with their research project. The MARC program is unlike any other offered at Marin Academy, beginning during the fall of 11th-grade and ending during the spring of 12th-grade. The MARC Independent Research electives are offered pass/fail, and students work independently toward their own set of goals. While MARC students are required to demonstrate a high degree of autonomy, initiative, and time management, classes are held during the week, and students share their ongoing research with each other and mentor students new to the program. Students also are expected to spend time working in the lab of their outside mentor during the school year or take part in a summer science research internship program.

MARC Tracks


Applied Genetics Research 🪰

Independent STEM Research 💡

Project structure



Research topic

Molecular genetics with fruit flies

Students choose their own

Experimental design

Structured, pre-set design

Students design their own

Scientist connections

Established partnership with Stanford

Students identify & connect with scientist mentors

Research location

Research carried out at MA

Variable research locations (at MA, mentor’s institution, field sites, etc.)


1-year (11th OR 12th grade)

2-years (11th AND 12th grades)

Course title

Applied Genetics Research

Independent STEM Research 1 (11th grade) & Independent STEM Research 2 (12th grade)



Pass/No Pass

# Students 

10 students

8 students per grade (16 total)

Application deadline

Applications due March 7th, 2024 (apply to either/both tracks within MARC)


First page of the PDF file: 2024WildcatColloquiumPoster-AmyStrauss

A Night of Science and Celebration with MARC

Wednesday, May 22, 6:00-9:00 p.m., BBLC Lecture Hall and Zoom

Our senior MARC scholars will present the results of their independent research projects and answer audience questions during the seventh annual Marin Academy Research Collaborative (MARC) Wildcat Colloquium. We will have two sessions with 4-5 research presentations in each session, plus a short reception for mingling and refreshments in between. Guests are welcome to join in-person or virtually via Zoom.

students in bee keeping gear looking at honeycomb
student with exhibit poster
MA student in white lab coat holding beaker and smiling at camera
students holding puppies
Two MA students working in white lab coats
student holding trophy and blue ribbon
student gesturing to presentation slide with other students looking on
students showcasing a project at the pool

STEM researchers interested in working with highly motivated high school students in our MARC Independent STEM Research track should contact:

Amy Strauss: 415.482.3279,

Information for Parents of Prospective MARC Students

Our Goals

students in lab coats gesturing as though in deep thought

This STEM research program supports interested students in making meaningful contributions to real-world scientific investigation, in partnership with professional scientists.

Key features of MARC:

  • Project-based experiential learning

  • Exploration & investigation

  • Research and data literacy

  • Community contribution beyond MA

  • Professional collaboration with researchers

  • Potential to publish/present findings

  • Small & supportive cohorts


I was immediately drawn to the MARC program as a way to potentially explore more ways to help mitigate pollution. I dipped my toe in the water of what researching and crafting an experiment was actually like by taking the pre-MARC class. This was very transformative in my decision to apply to the MARC program. It opened my eyes to the impact that research could have on decreasing plastic pollution or addressing water shortages.

Elsa '22

Amy Strauss

Amy Strauss

Science Teacher, Marin Academy Research Collaborative Coordinator