Girls can register today to ‘expand horizons...

Girls can register today to ‘expand horizons’ at Oct. 27 MTSU math-science event

Registration is underway for the 22nd annual Expanding Your Horizons in Math and Science Conference at MTSU, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, on the Middle Tennessee State University campus.

Middle school and high school girls — sixth- through 12th-graders — are welcome to attend. The registration fee is $20. To register and for more details, visit deadline to register is Friday, Sept. 28, or when the event reaches capacity.

Pearl the bulldog loves the attention he's receiving from girls attending EYH at MTSU.

Pearl the bulldog receives plenty of attention from participants in the “Open Up and Say Woof” workshop, led by Pearl’s owner, MTSU biology lecturer Amy Massengill, at the 21st annual Expanding Your Horizons in  February. The 22nd annual EYH will be held Oct. 27. (MTSU file photo by Eric Sutton)

Expanding Your Horizons, or EYH, helps girls and young women investigate science and mathematics careers, talk with women in math and science, attend science and math workshops with their peers, participate in hands-on activities and meet girls interested in the STEM disciplines of math, science, engineering and technology.

Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross, chemistry professor

Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross

The EYH director is  Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross, a chemistry professor and director of the MTSU Women in STEM (WISTEM) Center and the recipient of numerous local, state and national honors during her distinguished career.

Dr. Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, an assistant professor in physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt University, will be the keynote speaker for this year’s conference.

Holley-Bockelmann joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2007. She is a recipient of a Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation and a Vanderbilt Chancellor Faculty Fellow, and her work has been supported by NASA.

Her research on growing supermassive black holes and rogue black holes has been featured in many online and print media outlets.

A first-generation college graduate from a family that sometimes lived below the poverty level, Holley-Bockelmann has a deep interest in broadening the participation of women, minorities and first-generation college students in science.

Dr. Kelly Holley-Bockelmann

Dr. Kelly Holley-Bockelmann

She is co-director of the Fisk-to-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program, which helps mentor a diverse group of graduate students to develop the skills they’ll need to succeed as a doctoral scientist.

Holley-Bockelmann earned her bachelor’s degree in physics at Montana State University and her doctorate in astronomy in 1999 from the University of Michigan. She conducted postdoctoral work at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Massachusetts.

In 2004, she joined the Center for Gravitational Wave Physics at Penn State University, where she became highly interested in gravitational waves and attended many talks on loop quantum gravity. Last fall she was named chair of the U.S. Laser Interferometer Space Antenna Study Team, where she leads a team of scientists in America and represents the United States as part of the LISA International consortium.

Her main interests are computational galaxy dynamics, all varieties of black holes and gravitational waves.

A free EYH adult workshop is planned. Adults will learn additional resources and tools that can help engage children and students in learning coding and developing critical thinking skills.

MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. Many aspects of STEM are a part of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

— Randy Weiler (

Kelly Holley-Bockelmann to speak at MTSU's EYH event in October.

Dr. Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, an assistant professor in physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt University, will be the keynote speaker for the 22nd Expanding Your Horizons in Math and Science Conference at MTSU Oct. 27 for middle school and high school girls. (File photo by John Russell/Vanderbilt University)