Girls and young women attending the Oct. 22 Expanding Your Horizons in Math and Science Conference at MTSU will be in for a treat: the keynote speaker for the very first EYH in 1997 will be addressing the participants at the 20th annual gathering.
Murfreesboro native, physician and 19-year NASA veteran Rhea Seddon — a mission specialist in 1985 and ’91 and payload commander in charge of all science activities in her final space flight in 1993 — has agreed to provide the keynote address at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Ned McWherter Learning Resources Center.
Openings remain for middle school and high school girls to register for Expanding Your Horizons, a STEM-centered conference running from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The deadline to register is Thursday, Aug. 25.Attendees can go to www.mtsu.edu/wistem/eyh and click on “EYH” and then “Registration.”
Expanding Your Horizons is a hands-on math and science event aimed at helping girls consider careers in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — fields.
The annual event gives girls opportunities to talk with women in STEM careers and with other girls who share their interests.
Seddon said she’s looking forward to her appearance. One of her favorite themes while speaking with young people is “if you can see it, you can be it.”
“I’ve enjoyed so many wonderful opportunities, but it took quite a few years of hard work and preparation,” Seddon said of her career.
Girls and young women today ask questions similar to those asked in 1997 when they realize an astronaut is in their midst, the physician said.
“Girls want to hear what it was like to be an astronaut,” she said. “I try to show young people what it’s like, what life is like and how to get there.”
During her talks, she also shares the importance of taking STEM courses.
Her book, “Go for Orbit,” the recipient of a 2016 Independent Book Publisher’s Association Ben Franklin Award, provides a first-time insight into the U.S. space program from a woman’s perspective.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Seddon as our keynote,” said Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross, an MTSU chemistry professor and director of both EYH and the MTSU Women in STEM (WISTEM) Center.
“She is an outstanding role model for these young women.”
Iriarte-Gross added that workshops for adults planning to attend will soon be added to the website.
For more information, call her at 615-904-8253 or email Judith.Iriarte-Gross@mtsu.edu.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)