Tennessee STEM Education Center

The Tennessee Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Center (TSEC) is a research and outreach arm of MTSU, aimed at improving K-20 STEM education both locally and nationally.  TSEC partners with internal and external stakeholders to identify and address critical issues that impact access, equity, innovation, and leadership through collaborative activities, sponsored projects, and dissemination products at professional meetings and in practitioner and research journals. TSEC currently sponsors several high-profile annual events including the STEM Education Research Conference, the STEM Expo, and Posters at the Capitol, and invites the MTSU community to fulfill and refine the TSEC mission and vision through its involvement in existing programming or by initiating a conversation with us about how to better serve our constituencies.   


Tennessee STEM Education Center at MTSU showcases renovations in its pursuit of collaboration

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Staff of the Tennessee STEM Education Center at Middle Tennessee State University gather outside their renovated office on campus on Sept. 29, 2021, during their open house event. Standing, from left, are Steven Berryhill, Sarah Gwinn, Josh Reid, Greg Rushton, Mandy Singleton, Sherry Schafer, Shaghayegh Fateh, Andrea Reeder and Grant Gardner. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

OSHA 10-hour Training and Certification

[May 2-3, 2022] Are you in the STEM industry and require basic safety and health information? 

The Tennessee Food Systems Training Center housed in the MTSU School of Agriculture is hosting OSHA 10-hour Training and Certification for up to 40 adult participants at no cost to the participants!  When you successfully complete OSHA 10-hour training, you will receive an official OSHA 10 Department of Labor card.

To register and obtain additional event details, click the button below.


STEAM-a-Palooza for STEAM Festival

[October 2021] TSEC participated in STEAM-a-Palooza as part of the 2021 STEAM Festival on October 23rd. At the TSEC booth, children of all ages got to participate in a fun activity that taught them the basics of engineering. Participants got the opportunity to build their own catapult in our "Catapult Engineering" activity. After building their catapult, they got to test their engineering skills by seeing how effective their build was by shooting a projectile for a prize. While doing so, they got to learn first-hand how their building choices used tension, torque, and gravity.

Sirius STEM Sessions

[October 2021] The brightest star in our sky besides our fair Sun is Sirius. While 8.6 million light years away, the light of Sirius still illuminates our night sky. On Tuesday, October 19, 2021, The Tennessee STEM Education Center gathered its own stars in hopes to rival Sirius. These sessions allowed attendees to hear the achievements of some of the brightest minds from NASA, Space Force, and the Mars Science Laboratory Mission. The first two speakers in our illustrious lineup were NASA Aerospace Engineer Adam Willis and Space Force Multimedia Instructional Designer Jill Courtney.

Inside an MTSU faculty research collaborative community

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Greg Rushtonying 2021

TSEC Faculty Members join team, to partner with State Department of Education on $1M Tennessee pathways research grant

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Tennessee Pathways Logo

STEAM Festival Scavenger Hunt 

[October 2020] TSEC participated in the 2020 STEAM Festival from October 12th-16th. This year our primary focus was to convey to students that STEM is all around us! We were able to reach this goal by creating STEM related scavenger hunts for students ranging from Pre-K-High school. Students were broken up into different age ranges and given their respective scavenger hunts. All students were asked to share pictures of the items found from their STEM related scavenger hunt, so that they would have the chance to enter a drawing to win a prize! We are ecstatic to see how many children participated in this activity and look forward to participating in the STEAM festival next year! Below are the links to the scavenger hunts:

 New Faculty at TSEC

 [August 2020] The Tennessee STEM Education Center welcomes Erika Parr and Josh Reid, the center's new Post Doc's! Our center is excited to bring their individual expertise to our growing studies and outreach.

 Erika David Parr joins the Tennessee STEM Education Center as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working with Elizabeth Dyer on the T(CA)2 project. Erika earned her PhD in Mathematics Education at Arizona State University along with a Masters in Mathematics. Most recently, Erika served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Rhodes College where she taught Calculus courses. Her research interests center on student thinking in mathematics, with attention to how students interpret mathematical language and graphical representations used across mathematics courses.

Josh Reid joins the Tennessee STEM Education Center as Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Josh earned his PhD in Mathematics and Science Education from MTSU in 2020. His research interests include understanding the professional learning experiences of graduate students, using network analytic techniques to understand student sense-making in undergraduate classroom, and the integration of science and mathematics in undergraduate learning environments.

Tennessee Board of Regents Awards Funding for Inclusive Pedagogy Project

[June 2020]  Congratulations are in order to the TSEC Associate Directors Dr. Grant Gardner (Biology) and Dr. Sarah K. Bleiler-Baxter (Mathematical Sciences) who are PI's on an award funded by the Tennessee Board of Regents. The project is entitled Inclusive Pedagogy among STEM Faculty: A Professional Development Program for Becoming Aware and Culturally Responsive and has three focal points. The project seeks to help STEM faculty become more aware of, and responsive to, the varied backgrounds, learning styles, and cultures of learners in MTSU’s STEM courses. Additionally, this project will serve to promote reflective practice among faculty with respect to inclusive pedagogy. Finally, this project is seeking to spark cultural change within the STEM departments with respect to a focus on inclusion. The project starts this Fall 2020 and will continue through next summer. For more information please contact Dr. Bleiler-Baxter (sarah.bleiler@mtsu.edu) or Dr. Gardner (grant.gardner@mtsu.edu).

New Faculty at TSEC

[June 2020] The Tennessee STEM Education Center welcomes Dr. Grant E. Gardner and Dr. Sarah K. Bleiler-Baxter, the center's new Associate Directors! Our center is thrilled to bring their individual expertise to our growing studies and outreach.

Dr. Grant E. Gardner is an Associate Professor in the Biology. Grant earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics and Science Education from North Carolina State University at Raleigh. His research areas include the complex classroom ecology formed between interactions of students, instructors, and the content within various learning environments. His current interests include examining faculty knowledge, beliefs, and implementation efficacy of research-based instructional strategies and the impacts of professional development on these variables. He is also interested in the interactions of student goal orientations in small group learning. We are excited to have him join the faculty at TSEC!

Dr. Sarah K. Bleiler-Baxter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Sarah received her Ph.D. in Mathematics and Science Education from the University of South Florida. Her research areas include teaching and learning of proof; the role of instructor authority in the teaching and learning of proof, collaboration between mathematicians and mathematics teacher educators, and interpretation and implementation of the common core standards for Mathematical Practice. We are excited to have her join the faculty at TSEC!

TSEC Welcomes Research Coordinator, Steven Berryhill Jr.

Steven Berryhill, Research Coordinator[May 2020] TSEC is very excited to welcome Steven Berryhill Jr. as the center's new Research Coordinator. Steven is currently an Executive Ph.D. Candidate in Urban Higher Education at Jackson State University. He received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Masters of Engineering-Environmental from Tennessee State University. Prior to joining TSEC, Steven served as a math and university tutor at Tennessee State University. He also worked as the Coordinator of Identification & Access Control at Tennessee State University.



TSEC Welcomes Outreach & Operations Coordinator, Mandy Singleton

Mandy, Outreach and Operations Coorrdinator[March 2020] Mandy Singleton is the Outreach & Operations Coordinator of the Tennessee STEM Education Center (TSEC). Mandy previously joined TSEC in October   2019, as the center's first Outreach and Events Coordinator. In March of 2020, she was officially given the position of Outreach & Operations Coordinator. Mandy graduated from MTSU in 2008 with a degree in Organizational Communications. Before joining TSEC, Mandy was the Business and Operations Manager of a co-working space and event venue in Franklin, TN, It was this last position that led Mandy to seek a position that combined her non-profit communications background and event industry experience in the higher education arena. Mandy is thrilled to be back at her alma mater and excited to help increase the impact and visibility of the work of TSEC. 

 TSEC Hosts Visiting Scholars from Turkey

Dr. Z. Demet Kirbulut and Dr. Bilal Gunes headshots[October 2019] TSEC is excited to host two Visiting Scholars from Turkey, each here for a one year postdoctoral research fellowship. Dr. Z. Demet Kirbulut and Dr. Bilal Gunes will assist in the data collection, analysis and dissemination of research projects in STEM education. Meet our Visiting Scholars and read more HERE


TSEC Welcomes Assistant Director, Elizabeth Dyer

Elizabeth Dyer headshot[June 2019] Elizabeth Dyer is an Assistant Director of the Tennessee STEM Education Center (TSEC). She earned her PhD in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. Prior to joining MTSU, she has worked at Horizon Research and WestEd as a STEM Education Research Associate, and completed a postdoc at Stanford University. Elizabeth's research interests include understanding how mathematics and science teacher learning and development lead to changes in teachers' classroom practices, as well as how to design systems that support professional learning in schools.

TSEC Hosts Sandra K Abell Institute

[June 2019] TSEC hosted, at MTSU, the biennial Sandra K. Abell Institute for Doctoral Students for eight mentors and 24 Ph.D. candidates from around the globe and featuring schools like Stanford, Georgia, Syracuse and England’s Oxford and Leicester universities. As part of NARST — the National Association of Research Science Teaching — the Abell institute brought together students and mentors from diverse fields. NARST is committed to the improvement of science teaching and learning through research. Read full article HERE.

Posters at the Capitol 2019

[March 2019] Seven MTSU undergraduates shared research with legislators at the annual Posters at the Capitol event facilitated by TSEC. Eight other Tennessee institutions participated in this this. Read more about the phenomenal work representing our university HERE, courtesy of MTSU News. 

Tennessee STEM Conference Highlights

[February 2019] The Tennessee STEM Education Center hosted their 13th Annual STEM Education Research Conference on February 14th-15th, featuring work from a variety of professors, students, and universities. The conference featured impressive keynote presentations from Ilana Horn of Vanderbilt University and Vicente Talanquer of University of Arizona. Read more about the event HERE, courtesy of MTSU News.


New Faculty at TSEC!

[January 2019] The Tennessee STEM Education Center welcomes Dr. Ying Jin and Dr. Dovie Kimmins as faculty fellows and Dr. Andrienne Friedli as an Associate Director! Our center is thrilled to bring their individual expertise to our growing studies and outreach.

Dr. Dovie Kimmins is a Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, having been on the MTSU faculty since 1983. From 2004-2009 Dr. Kimmins served as Associate Director of the Tennessee Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Center at MTSU. Dr. Kimmins has worked extensively with preservice and inservice teachers. She has developed and taught undergraduate and graduate courses for both groups, and since 1997 has directed or co-directed 18 professional development projects impacting over 1000 teachers from at least two-thirds of the school districts across Tennessee. 

Dr. Ying Jin is an assistant professor in the Quantitative Psychology program in the department of Psychology. Dr Jin earned her Ph.D. in Research, Measurement, and Evaluation from University of Miami (FL). Her research areas include item response theory, differential item functioning (measurement invariance), structural equation modeling, and multilevel modeling. Dr. Jin works primarily with educational and psychological data. 

Dr. Andrienne Friedli is a Professor of Chemistry. Her training is in the area Chemistry, with a B. A. from Rice University in Chemistry; an M. S. from Yale University in the area of physical organic chemistry; and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Friedli started three core facilities in collaboration with faculty from eight departments: MTSU Interdisciplinary Microanalysis and Imaging Center (MIMIC), the NMR facility, and the X-Ray Computational and Experimental Laboratory and 3D Visualization Center (XCEL-3D). Her research interests involve organic materials chemistry such as optical biosensors and organically modified nanoporous silicates.

STEM Education Conference

The Tennessee STEM Education Center at MTSU will conduct the 13th annual Tennessee STEM Education Research Conference Feb. 14-15, 2019, at MTSU.
The conference will bring together “great minds to engage in conversations about empirical studies in STEM education and their applications to practice in K-20 learning environments,” said Dr. Greg Rushton, the center’s director. “Those who wish to contribute to the conference may register and submit an abstract.” See more about our conference on MTSU News here or visit our research conference page.

TSEC on the air!

Dr. Gregory Rushton was featured on the WGNS "Action Line" program December 17th, 2018 to talk about the important role TSEC plays at Middle Tennessee State University, where our institution is headed, and share highlights from our recent leadership conference. Want to listen in? Visit the WGNS page with audio here

TSEC Welcomes Lisa Strayer!

[November 2018] As our center continues to grow, Lisa Strayer is the latest addition to the TSEC team! Lisa has a strong background in working with elementary age children as well as assisting those with special needs. She has three children of her own, 2 in college and 1 in high school. We are grateful for her commitment to education and look forward to working with her. 

Leaders unified to bring bright students to STEM education, careers at MTSU summit

MTSU, along with Texas Instruments, held a STEM Leadership Summit to help in “Building the STEM Bridge … From K-12 to Higher Ed to Careers” on campus. Educators — from elementary to higher education — from across the Midstate attended the one-day gathering to promote future networking efforts.

Read full article, courtesy of MTSU News, here.

MTSU Tennessee STEM Education Center Director Greg Rushton, second from left, shares about his experience with engaging, enthusiastic students in the classroom during a recent panel discussion to promote STEM that was sponsored by Texas Instruments and held at MTSU. At left is Scott Eddins, mathematics strategy and support coordinator with the Tennessee Department of Education, chemistry assistant professor Maria Danielle Garrett of Belmont University and moderator Alfred Hall of the University of Memphis. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli



Tennessee STEM Education Center

820 Fairview Ave,
Suite 102
MTSU PO Box 82
Murfreesboro, TN 37132