MTSU Professor to Speak at Columbia State STEM GiRLS Event

stem girls
(Pictured, left to right) Kiara Simerly and Taylor Eakes examine human cheek cells at the 2016 STEM GiRLS event.

Columbia State Community College is pleased to announce the third “Girls Really Love Science” event, which will be held on October 27.

The STEM GiRLS workshop is a one-day science, technology, engineering and math workshop that is open to 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls from public, homeschool and private middle schools that centers on educating and promoting the success of girls.

The workshop is designed to promote awareness of STEM careers through interactive, hands-on activities in agricultural science, biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, math, physics and other applied sciences that are designed to encourage success in and promote scientific and technological understanding of the STEM fields.

“Our goal is to promote STEM related fields to young girls – we want to demonstrate and convey that they can be happy and successful in these highly demanded, technical areas and beyond,” said Andrew Wright, Columbia State interim dean of the Science, Technology and Mathematics Division. “With the leadership of Columbia State faculty, employees and industry professionals, each student will be exposed to many fun and engaging activities showcasing STEM fields that are in high demand. Most, if not all, of the project-based and hands-on workshops will be facilitated by female educators and professionals.”

heather brown
Dr. Heather J. Brown, MTSU Concrete and Construction Management department chair and professor.

Dr. Heather J. Brown, Middle Tennessee State University School of Concrete and Construction Management department chair and professor, will be the speaker for this year’s event. Her experience includes five years of material testing and research for the Tennessee Department of Transportation and authoring and co-authoring more than 30 papers on several topics relating to concrete construction. Brown has been recognized by MTSU for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences Outstanding Grantsmanship, CBAS Overall Excellence and MTSU Faculty Who Make a Difference. She was an Influential Women in Business in Rutherford County in 2015, and more recently, she was elected as Fellow and Board of Director for the American Concrete Institute.

Brown serves as faculty advisor for American Concrete Institute, Prestressed/Precast Concrete Institute and National Association of Women in Construction, and she coordinates volunteer concrete projects for students for the community.

Brown began her teaching career at Tennessee Technological University, where she also earned a Bachelor’s of Science, a Master’s of Science and a Ph.D. in civil engineering. She resides in Lascassas, Tennessee with her husband J. Chris Brown, a mechanical engineer for Nissan North America, and their sons, Mason and Wyatt.

The workshop will provide an opportunity for middle school girls to attend a single-gender class, which builds stronger STEM self-concepts and greater preference to study STEM subjects in high school and college.

Parents and teachers are invited to stay for a complementary adult session that will provide insight on how to encourage and guide young women in STEM classes and careers, demonstrating how daughters and students can have rewarding and high-paying careers in a variety of STEM fields. Parents and teachers must register for the adult session upon registering the child for the event to ensure space and meals for all who attend.

Registration is open until filled. The event is open to female, middle school students in Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Marshall, Maury, Perry, Wayne and Williamson Counties.

Columbia State is pleased to announce that the General Motors family and Listerhill Credit Union will continue their involvement with STEM GiRLS.

Check-in begins at 8 a.m. in the Waymon L. Hickman Building on the Columbia Campus, located at 1665 Hampshire Pike. The event will kick off at 8:30 a.m. in the Cherry Theater. STEM GiRLS will conclude at 3:30 p.m. Early registration is encouraged as spaces are limited. The cost to attend is $25 online or $30 at the door and includes lunch and T-shirt. For more information or to register, visit

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