MTSU symposium tackles higher ed debt, more social...

MTSU symposium tackles higher ed debt, more social science topics

MTSU student, faculty and visiting scholars will discuss whether the opportunities that higher education provides are worth the debt it often requires at the 23nd annual Tennessee Undergraduate Social Science Symposium Oct. 29-30.

Click on the poster above to see the schedule for the 23nd annual Tennessee Undergraduate Social Science Symposium at MTSU Oct. 29-30.

With a theme of “Worth Every Penny?: Debt, Education and Opportunity,” the two-day research symposium inside MTSU’s James Union Building is free and open to the public.

A searchable campus map with parking notes is available at

This year’s symposium features a Thursday, Oct. 30, keynote address from Dr. Joel Best, co-author of “The Student Loan Mess: How Good Intentions Created a Trillion-Dollar Problem,” at 9:40 a.m. in the JUB’s Tennessee Room.

Best’s topic is “The Student Loan Mess: How It Got Here and Why It’s Not Going Away.”

Other key events include a Wednesday, Oct. 29, workshop and panel featuring Best and including:

  • Dr. Maria Edlin, assistant director of MTSU’s Center for Economic Education.
  • Jackie Morgan, senior economic and education financial specialist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Nashville office.
  • Trina Wilson, assistant director of the Office of Financial Aid at MTSU.
  • Mallory Melton, academic adviser in MTSU’s College of Liberal Arts and an MTSU alumna.
Joel Best

Dr. Joel Best

Best book cover webStudent research presentations are scheduled throughout both days of the symposium, and their topics range from parking-lot littering to Native American language in historical writings to media coverage of same-sex couple violence. The top three undergrad papers will be announced and prizes awarded at 9:30 Thursday morning.

Conducted at MTSU since 1993, the event is modeled after a typical professional conference and was designed to prompt students’ scientific study of human interaction and encourage their professional growth as well as provide opportunities for scholars to exchange ideas.

The symposium is sponsored by MTSU’s College of Liberal Arts, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Office of Research, the University Honors College, the MTSU Sociology Club, the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Series and the Office of the University Provost.

For more details and a complete schedule, visit the symposium’s home page at You also can contact Dr. Meredith Dye at 615-898-2690 or

— Gina E. Fann (