Hypothesis and Investigation: The MARC Program

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Helena P. '24, Copy Editor and Writer, Community, Entertainment, STEM

Microglia, echinoderm, microbiomes, mealworms, exoplanets. These terms may spark some sort of familiarity to you, perhaps you have taken a course, listened to a presentation, or are intrigued by your own research in regards to them. All of these terms may have been, are currently, or will be the basis for a hypothesis in the MARC Program, a college course-style investigative and engineering research two-year-long curriculum.

Some may have learned about the Marin Academy Research Collaborative (MARC) while researching the school, while others may have gained interest when conversing with upperclassmen. Many of the students I’ve met had either strong opposition or interest in participating. The two-year program is rather simply outlined: first, a student proposes a question or hypothesis that relates to fields of engineering and computer sciences, life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, or psychology. The next step is to collaborate with content area mentors (think more advisor-type figures, and less hero’s journey and literary characters), novel research is carried out before students debrief and write a manuscript in response to said hypothesis. The students participating are also expected to make their independent study the focus of their project. The course is done under the supervision of an instructor and receives a pass/fail grade, and despite not having any effect on a student’s GPA, I would argue that no one should have anything but the utmost respect and admiration for MARC students.

One thing that is agreed upon by many scientists is that it is learned best while actually performing it. That being said, the program is not advised for everyone. The leaders and founders of MARC appear to address this themselves; mealworms and microbiomes aren’t for everyone after all.