MTSU hosts girls’ math-science event on September 24

Lexi Tut performs a physics experiment in a “Physics Phun” workshop as part of the 25th annual Tennessee Girls in STEM Conference at MTSU in the Science Building in early April. About 100 middle school and 75 high school girls participated in the event that was all about science, technology, engineering and math. The 26th conference this fall will be held Saturday, Sept. 24, on campus. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Registration ends soon for the 26th annual Tennessee Girls in STEM Math and Science Conference at MTSU, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 24. The deadline to register will be Thursday, September 1, event organizers said. The STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) conference will be held in-person. Masks and hand sanitizers will be provided and recommended, in light of the ongoing pandemic.

Middle school and high school girls — in graded 5-12 — are welcome to participate There is a $20 registration fee, but financial assistance is available. 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, participate in hands-on workshops and meet 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,” said chemistry professor Judith Iriarte-Gross, conference and WISTEM (Women in STEM) Center director. “More than 25 years of supporting girls and women in STEM is an amazing track record,” she added. “Thanks to MTSU for hosting Tennessee Girls in STEM.”

Barbara Turnage, interim dean for the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, will be the keynote speaker for this year’s event. Her background is in social work, as are her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She earned her doctorate from Tulane University in New Orleans.

“I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to encourage and inform our next generation of leaders and innovators,” Turnage said.

Turnage said she will discuss “the importance of finding a career that fits their skillset and their interests.”

Turnage is a past recipient of the John Pleas Faculty Award, presented to a Black faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service. Key points in her talk  will include the difference between a career and a job, balancing work and life, the importance of money to live and not selecting a career because of the money associated with it and more, plus fielding audience questions.

The conference is sponsored by the MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Nissan, Schneider Electric, Texas Instruments, Newell Brands, University College and the Nashville local section of the American Chemical Society. •

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