Jun 20, 2024

A.D. Henderson & FAU High School recieve $2M grant to launch a research and innovation center in Boca Raton


Florida Atlantic Owls - WikipediaFlorida Atlantic University Laboratory Schools received a $2 million grant from The Marcus Foundation, established by Bernie Marcus, to launch the Marcus Research and Innovation Center at the A.D. Henderson University School and FAU High School campus in Boca Raton.

Alexander D. Henderson University School is a public elementary and middle school on the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. A.D. Henderson is a developmental research (lab) school established in 1968 to enhance instruction and research in specialized subjects to improve outcomes for all students in the country. FAU High School is the only public, accelerated pre-collegiate program that has every one of its students working towards a cost-free bachelor’s degree and high school diploma simultaneously. It paves the way for students to graduate college debt-free.

This grant will enhance the pipeline of students at Henderson and FAU High as they strive to become talented researchers and innovators who can address the country’s most pressing challenges, while becoming part of a highly skilled workforce to meet the needs of the nation. It also will help to re-engineer education to train future school leaders and educators.

Jasmine Coyle shows a scan of an insect on the Scanning Electron Microscope to a group of elementary students in the Owls Imaging Lab.

“The science, innovation and research that will occur within the Marcus Research and Innovation Center will expose and engage youth at early ages in these important fields, and could be an educational model for the rest of the country,” said Bernard “Bernie” Marcus, chairman of The Marcus Foundation.

Founded in 1989, The Marcus Foundation focuses on fulfilling the philanthropic vision of Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot. Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Foundation’s grantmaking philosophy is derived from Bernie Marcus’ personal life experiences and awareness, and his success as an entrepreneur enables him to give back. The Foundation has five key areas of philanthropy – giving back in spheres that uphold Bernie’s beliefs and values – all with the goal to save and change lives through entrepreneurial philanthropy. The five focus areas are: healthcare and medical research; Jewish causes; the health and welfare of children, with an emphasis on civics education; free enterprise, including veteran issues and national security; and local community.

Madison Elman pipettes a compound in a lab at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience.

The Marcus Research and Innovation Center will provide more than 12,000 square feet of STEM and research space to serve as a training center and incubator for current A.D. Henderson and FAU High students as they prepare to become researchers and innovators of tomorrow. The labs within the center will focus on bioimaging, neuroscience, ocean science and conservation, along with a health care pipeline for teaching, high-performance computing, and rapid prototyping methods. Each of the labs will be equipped with top-tier research instruments not typically found in K-12 settings.

The center will also host visiting scholars and researchers, as well as advance the partnership and research already underway at the Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Regional Hospital and Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.
The Marcus Research and Innovation Center will introduce students to research as early as kindergarten. To date, students participating in the lab school’s research program have produced 78 student publications in peer-reviewed journals, six patents, and more than 1,500 citations worldwide. Student research collaborations now include work with Boca Raton Regional Hospital, the Max Planck Society, UF Scripps, Jupiter Medical Center, Wahoo Bay, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, and others. The state-of-the-art Marcus Research and Innovation Center will house and expand the current programs at the FAU Laboratory Schools to grow and inspire exponentially more students in diverse research activities.

Angeline Smith loads a sample for imaging into the CT scanner in the Owls Imaging Lab at Florida Atlantic University High School.

In addition, the Marcus Research and Innovation Center also will provide spaces to support the FAU Laboratory Schools’ Stiles-Nicholson STEM Teacher Academy (SNSTA) and The Cane Institute for Advanced Technologies (TCI). The SNSTA bridges high-caliber research settings with middle and high school instructors by developing experiential professional learning opportunities and instruction to inspire innovation and create lasting educational benefits for students nationwide. TCI is a premier, K-12 STEM continuum, and serves as the lab schools’ epicenter for STEM education and technology transfer.

“This generous grant will accelerate the transformational re-engineering of education already in progress at our lab schools,” said Joel Herbst, Ed.D., superintendent of Florida Atlantic Laboratory Schools. “The Marcus Research and Innovation Center will serve as a blueprint for developing researchers and a globally competitive workforce, as well as train the school leaders and educators of tomorrow.”