After teaching high school science for 24 years, Americans for Fair Treatment member Adelle Schade realized that she wanted to help her students take their learning to the next level, so she started a journey to open the Science Research Institute (SRI), Pennsylvania’s largest youth science program.
SRI began as a youth research laboratory where Conrad Weiser high schoolers—Adelle’s students—could design their own inventions and file their own patents. After experiencing massive growth, it is now housed at Albright College and is open to students in grades 5-12 in Berks County.
Adelle’s passion project focused on material science—a major gap in conventional science education—giving the students at SRI the opportunity to develop some incredible prototypes, including organic glass synthesized from plentiful Pennsylvanian chicken manure. Several of her students started receiving offers as high as $50,000 for their science projects. Together with a team of attorneys, Adelle facilitated some of the first intellectual property contracts for minors in Pennsylvania history.
One student studied the effects of vegetable extracts on cancer cells. This student lost several family members to cancer and was eager to test whether nature holds the cure. As Adelle pointed out, “Experiments aren’t meant to achieve a particular result—because that’s not how science works. Failure is the first step on the road to success.”
Successful is the word that best describes SRI, which has attracted over 90 business partners, hundreds of students, teachers, and interns, and millions of dollars in investment.