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Background

 1996 - A committee was formed on MTSU's campus with community partners (the American Association of University Women (Murfreesboro Branch), Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, and the Nashville Section of the American Chemical Society), to bring the first Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) Conference to Tennessee. EYH encourages young women in grades 5-12 to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Spring 1997 - MTSU National Women's History Month annual Woman In Science Invited Lecture was established.

Fall 1997 - First MTSU EYH was held with over 300 girls attending.

November 1999 - The MTSU EYH was recognized by THEC with the Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award.

2001 - MTSU received a planning grant ($30,000), the Middle Tennessee State University Women in SMET Undergraduate Programs (WISUP), from the National Science Foundation.

August 2001 - The Nashville Section of the American Chemical Society and Dr. Iriarte-Gross were awarded the first Women Chemists Committee ChemLuminary Award for Most Innovative Recognition of Women in the Chemical Sciences.

Summer 2002 - The MTSU Chapter of Sigma Xi was awarded the first Sigma Xi Diversity Award for Expanding Your Horizons and NWHM Events.

Fall 2002 - The MTSU WISE Living and Learning (Residence Hall) Community was formed along with the MTSU WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) student organization. 
 
Summer 2003 - Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross attended the Women in Science Curriculum Reform Institute in Oshkosh WI.

Spring 2004 - Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross served as a Faculty Fellow in the MTSU Provost's office and chaired the Ad-Hoc Service Learning Committee.

January 2007 - A Dissemination Project To Increase Girls Raised in Tennessee Science (GRITS) was funded by the National Science Foundation. This project resulted in the start of the high school EYH at MTSU as well as the West Tennessee EYH at the University of Memphis.

June 2007 - Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross was named the lead for the Girls Raised In Tennessee Science (GRITS) Collaborative Project; the Tennessee region of the National Girls Collaborative Project.

Fall 2007 - The first EYH for high school girls was held under the direction of the NSF-funded Girls Raised in Tennessee Science (GRITS) program. The first West Tennessee EYH was held at the University of Memphis.

2008 - Dr. Iriarte-Gross served as Chair of the MTSU Women in STEM (WISTEM) Center Planning Committee. The WISTEM Center Planning Committee members are listed below.

  • Jennifer Allen, Development Office
  • Michelle Blackwell, Transfer Student Services
  • Dr. Tom Cheatham, Dean, College of Basic & Applied Sciences
  • Dr. Cathy Crooks, Department of Psychology
  • Dr. Wandi Ding, Department of Mathematical Sciences
  • Dr. Jackie Eller, Department of Sociology & Anthropology
  • Dr. Saeed Foroudastan, Associate Dean, College of Basic & Applied Sciences
  • Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross, Committee Chair, Department of Chemistry
  • Dr. Padgett Kelly, Department of Biology
  • Dr. Cen Li, Department of Computer Science
  • Dr. Melissa Lobegeier, Department of Geosciences
  • Dr. Kathy Mathis, Committee Co-chair, Department of Engineering Technology
  • Allison McGoffin, Office of the University Provost
  • Dr. Diane Miller, Department of Mathematical Sciences
  • Dr. Myra Norman, Office of Research & Sponsored Programs
  • Ginny Vesper, Walker Library
  • Dr. Martha Weller, Department of Physics & Astronomy
  • Dr. Debra Rose Wilson, School of Nursing
  • Dr. Jeremy Winters, Department of Elementary & Special Education
  • Gail Zlotky, Department of Aerospace

 August 2008 - Awarded WCC ChemLuminary Award for Outstanding Outreach to Girls or Young Women

September 2008 - GRITS Collaborative Project Kick-Off Conference was held on the MTSU campus.

February 2009 - Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross was named an AWIS (Association for Women in Science) Fellow.

May 2009 - Tennessee Board of Regents approved the Women In Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (WISTEM) Center. Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross was named first director of the WISTEM Center.

February 2010 - WISTEM Center Planning Committee invited and formed WISTEM Center Advisory Board

May 2010 - First WISTEM Center Advisory Board meeting was held at MTSU.

In addition to the organizations and activities mentioned above, there are several other organizations and programs on the MTSU campus and in the community that support girls and women in STEM. Following the philosophy of the GRITS Collaborative, programs, resources, groups, and other centers that support women in STEM are invited to collaborate with the WISTEM Center.