Deadline nears for girls’ math-science event at MTSU

Registration ends soon for the 25th annual Tennessee Girls in STEM Math and Science Conference at MTSU, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25.

The deadline to register is Tuesday, Sept. 7, event organizers said. The STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) conference is scheduled to be held in-person, but masks will be required inside university buildings to meet COVID-19 protocols.

Middle school and high school girls — rising fifth through 12th graders — are welcome to participate There is a $20 registration fee, but financial assistance is available to students affected by the pandemic. To register and for more details, visit

Tennessee Girls in STEM, or TGIS, helps girls and young women investigate science and mathematics careers, hear from women in math and science, observe science and math workshops and learn about other girls interested in STEM. For many years, it was known as the MTSU Expanding Your Horizons, or EYH, Conference.

“MTSU is providing for the future workforce in Tennessee, in the South and across the nation by introducing girls to STEM role models at our annual conference,” chemistry professor and conference Director Judith Iriarte-Gross said.

“Twenty-five years of supporting girls and women in STEM is an amazing track record,” she added. “Thanks to MTSU for hosting Tennessee Girls in STEM.”

Alumna Andrea Eller, a zoologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., will be the keynote speaker for this year’s event.

“It is so exciting to be able to work at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum,” Eller said. “They have the most incredible collections of animals, plants, rocks, artifacts … even the attic has some amazing pieces of science in it. For a naturalist like me, it’s a dream come true.”

Related to her visit, Eller said when she was just starting in college, “I really had no idea what I was opening up for myself — the opportunities, the people, the travel. I feel very fortunate to have been able to follow my passions, and do scientific research for a living.

“And occasionally, I get to go somewhere to talk about it. Coming back to MTSU to talk about what I do now … I never would have expected to have this opportunity.”

Eller, who has earned her doctorate, is the daughter of Jackie Eller, a retired professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology now teaching remotely as an adjunct faculty member and is a former interim vice provost for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Off-campus sponsors include Nissan North America, Schneider Electric, Texas Instruments and others. On-campus support is provided by the WISTEM (Women in STEM) Center, Office of the Provost, MTSU, College of Basic and Applied Sciences and others.

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