MTSU— Middle School and High School aged Girls gathered together on Saturday to participate in the 19th annual Expanding Your Horizons Conference at Middle Tennessee State University.

Over 300 girls participated in the EYH Conferencethis year and learned key aspects of how women can become involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in their academic and professional careers. Many speakers came to tell the girls about how increasingly important it is for women to be involved in STEM, because often girls are underestimated  and told they cannot do the same professions as men.

In an effort to break the stereotype, Dr. Iriarte-Gross started a branch of EYH here at MTSU after seeing the impact it had on girls in other states. The conference was originally created to help encourage girls to take higher levels of math and science courses in high school.

“[The founders] realized that if the girls could not take these higher level math and science courses before college, they would not be successful in college,” Iriarte-Gross explains.

At this year’s conference, girls were able to experience most aspects of STEM by participating in hands-on workshops. Some of the workshops included making a motor out of a battery, riding in a moon buggy that was created by MTSU students and controlling robots with the touch of a few buttons on a gaming controller.

Next year will be MTSU’s 20th anniversary for the EYH Conference, and Dr. Iriarte-Gross is hopeful that the conference will expand not only with workshops and resources, but also by the number of girls participating.