Tech hosting 14th annual STEM conference

Preparing for the upcoming STEM Education Research Conference, from left, are Carlos Galindo, STEM Center outreach coordinator; Darek Potter, STEM Center director; and Jennifer Meadows, assistant professor in the College of Education.

COOKEVILLE – Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educators and researchers from all over the southeast will converge on Tennessee Tech’s campus Jan. 16 and 17 to participate in the 14th annual STEM Education Research Conference.

This is the first time the conference is being held outside of Middle Tennessee State University, which is where it has been held for the past 13 years.

“We want people to recognize that Tech is not just a hub for STEM education outreach, but that we have several faculty across colleges who are very active in STEM education research,” said Holly Anthony, Tech mathematics education professor. “We also want to further partnerships with other universities with regards to STEM education research and make it more of a statewide and regional effort.”

Tennessee Tech and the STEM education faculty have been involved in the conference since the beginning, but 2020 marks only the second year in which Oakley STEM Center at Tennessee Tech has served as a co-sponsor with MTSU and Anthony serving as a conference co-planner.

The conference will showcase current research questions, methodologies and findings within disciplinary and interdisciplinary STEM contexts; facilitate discussions between researchers and educators; promote local, state and national STEM education collaborations and partnerships; develop improved teaching methods for STEM topics and provide networking opportunities across stakeholder communities. 

There will also be national leaders in STEM education research discussing current topics and leading presentations and informal sessions to support collaborations.

“In addition to the College of Education, we’ve also worked with the Office of Research to get materials together and market the event,” said Darek Potter, director of the Millard Oakley STEM Center.

In addition to Tennessee Tech, other university faculty will be in attendance from Middle Tennessee State University, Auburn, Clemson, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Auburn, University of Tennessee – Chattanooga, Vanderbilt, University of Georgia, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, East Tennessee State University, Metro Nashville Public Schools and Tennessee State University. Representatives from the Adventure Science Center and United Community Bank are also among the 100 attendees registered to attend.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Paula Lemons, an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Georgia.

“She has done a lot of innovative work in her area,” Anthony said.

Lemons’ biography, along with additional information about the conference, is available at

For more information about the Tennessee STEM Education Center, visit

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