WISTEM Center Director

Judith Iriarte-Gross
Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross

Judith Iriarte-Gross earned her B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park and her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of South Carolina. She completed a post-doctoral research project at Southern Methodist University. Before joining Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in 1996, she worked as a chemist for the FDA and as a chemist and lab manager in the plastics industry. Dr. Iriarte-Gross mentors an active undergraduate research group in the scholarship of science education and has been involved with SENCER, Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities since 2005. In January 2008, Dr. Iriarte-Gross and her colleague, Dr. Martha Weller, Professor of Physics, were awarded an NSF CCLI grant "Group Learning in an Interdisciplinary Physical Science Course for Non-Science Majors (DUE - 0736940). In the development of the course, Dr. Iriarte-Gross and Dr. Weller have introduced the use of clickers, collaborative learning and case studies. Dr. Iriarte-Gross has also been co-PI on two other NSF grants which are focused on STEM education. "Hands-on Experiences with NMR in the Undergraduate Curriculum" (DUE - 0311641) and "RUI: 400 MHz NMR for Research and Research Training in Chemical Synthesis" (CHE - 0321211).

Dr. Iriarte-Gross is nationally known for her advocacy for encouraging girls and women in the sciences. She is also involved in local, state, and national programs which support the recruitment, retention and graduation of girls and women in STEM education and careers. She was named an Association for Women in Science (AWIS) Fellow in 2009 and served as secretary of the AWIS National Board in 2011. She is currently co-President of the Tennessee Chapter of AWIS and represents AWIS on the National Champions Board of the National Girls Collaborative Project. She introduced Tennessee to the award winning Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) conference and has directed the MTSU EYH conference since 1996. She is the lead for the Girls Raised In Tennessee Science (GRITS) Collaborative Project. Through the GRITS Collaborative Project network, she has helped start EYH sites in other Tennessee communities. A former Upward Bound student, she received the TRIO Achievers Award for Washington D. C. in 2010. Dr. Iriate-Gross is the inaugural recipient of the ATHENA International Leadership Award presented by RutherfordCABLE. She is an active member and councilor of the American Chemical Society and serves on the Women Chemists Committee of the ACS.   She is faculty advisor of the MTSU Women In Science and Engineering student organization and director of the WISTEM (Women In STEM) Center, the only such Center in Tennessee, on the MTSU campus.