Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

In today's fast-changing world, careers in science, technology, engineering, math are hotter than ever. Whether you're interested in computers, chemistry, or any of our degree programs, you'll expand your options and engage your talents.

Our programs run the gamut from earth science to engineering. Oakton's pre-major curriculum and host of transfer agreements provide excellent preparation for transferring to a four-year college.

Whichever program you choose, you'll work with dedicated teachers in facilities that offer the latest in technological advancement.

At Oakton, we offer a special Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program to prepare you for a career in a STEM field or to provide a springboard for transferring to a four-year college or university. Studying a STEM field such as biology, computer science, engineering or physics unlocks your potential to:

  • Find a Job
    Economic forecasts project a 20–33 percent increase in scientific and technical occupations within the coming decade. Plus, STEM skills are applicable in many other fields as well.
  • Earn High Pay
    Some studies have shown that you can earn more with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field than a bachelor's degree or even a Ph.D. in a non-STEM field!
  • Develop the Coolest Stuff
    Work with and design the most cutting-edge technologies, software, apps and gadgets.
  • Meet Societal Needs and Solve Big Problems
    Work to affect change in your community and the world.
  • Have Fun at Work
    Whether in a lab, on a supercomputer or at a university, look forward to going to work every day.

In our STEM program, you will have access to a variety of opportunities and resources as you delve into these important and interesting subjects. Our program has been cited by the New York Times as one of the top community college STEM programs in the country.

Furthermore, our Center for Promoting STEM is widely respected and was established in 2006 to increase the number of students who pursue studies and receive a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. 

The goals of CP-STEM are:

  • To encourage and enhance student success in STEM courses.
  • To strengthen an existing supportive and rewarding learning environment for students and faculty.
  • To contribute to the literature on teaching and learning through program assessment.
  • To distribute the successful results of CP-STEM activities, and
  • Promote learning through a variety of highly respected STEM speakers to the Oakton campus.

So if you're looking to increase your knowledge and skill in the scientific fields and prepare for a rewarding career, Oakton's STEM program is for you!

STEM Scholars Program

Oakton College’s STEM Scholars program and scholarship are designed for students with demonstrated financial need pursuing a degree or career in a STEM field, especially students of color, female and LGBTQIA students. STEM Scholars will engage in shared cohort course experiences and have the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research.

Learn More About the STEM Scholars Program

STEM Opportunities

In addition to the STEM Scholars program, we offer a number of other opportunities for students.

You can enroll in special STEM200 courses that give you the chance to earn up to four credit hours of independent study in STEM topics. You'll be on a student team, guided by a faculty advisor, investigating a real-world project topic, enabling you to hone your collaboration, communication, decision making and research skills, as well as your creativity.

You can also participate in the Skyway STEM Poster Competition, get job experience and professional connections in an internship or explore special STEM opportunities at four-year institutions.

Meet Your Faculty and Experts

Department Chairs, Coordinators and Full-time Faculty

Biological Sciences

Chair – Nicole Perry, Professor of Biology

Coordinator, A&P - Kanchana Mendes, Professor of Biology

Paul Gulezian, Professor of Biology
Co-coordinator, Environmental Science

Stephanie Levi Blumer, Associate Professor of Biology

Nizar Handzic, Professor of Biology

Khursheed Ichhaporia, Associate Professor of Biology

Harper Mazock, Assistant Professor of Biology

Kalpa Patel, Professor of Biology

Kritika Pershad, Associate Professor of Biology

Bill Strond, Professor of Biology

Kristi Zenchak, Professor of Biology

Suzanne Ziegenhorn, Associate Professor of Biology

Computer Science

Coordinator, Ivan Temesvari, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science


Chair — Joe Kotowski, Distinguished Professor, Mechanical Design and Mathematics

Jeff Cabay, Instructor, Engineering


Chair — Jennifer Reeb, Distinguished Professor, Mathematics

Maria Antonopoulos, Associate Professor, Mathematics

Mario Borha, Associate Professor, Mathematics

Olga Cedrina Associate Professor, Mathematics

Michael Farquhar, Professor, Mathematics

Safa Hamed, Professor, Mathematics

Anna Hammer, Associate Professor of Mathematics

Ahyoung Kim, Assistant Professor, Mathematics

Matthew Lee, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Christopher Saunders, Associate Professor, Mathematics

Dorota Zak, Professor, Mathematics


Chair- Chad Landrie, Physical Science/Professor, Chemistry

Physical Sciences

Chair – Chad Landrie, Professor of Chemistry

John Carzoli, Distinguished Professor of Physics

Theodore Gotis, Professor of Physics

Elizabeth Kershisnik, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

Gary Mines, Professor of Chemistry

Zoran Miodragovic, Professor of Chemistry

Melodie Graber, Professor of Chemistry 

Valeria Benson-Lira, Assistant Professor of Physical Science

The Stem Scholars Advisory Committee meets each semester to assess progress, make suggestions for improvements, and assist in on-going, formative evaluation. The composition of the advisory committee includes individuals of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and academic disciplines, reflecting the goals of STEM Scholars.

Internal (Oakton)

Michele Brown
Director, Student Recruitment and Outreach
Oakton College

John Carzoli, Ph.D.
Professor, Physics
Oakton College

Reza Dai
Chair, Computer Networking & Systems; Professor, Electronics, Local Area Networks & Mathematics
Oakton College

Al Grippe
Director of Grants Strategy and Development
Oakton College

Krissie Harris
Manager of Student Life and Campus Inclusion, Lecturer
Oakton College

Tess Lesniak
Instructor, Biology
Oakton College

Shannon McKenzie
Internship Specialist
Oakton College

Gary Mines, Ph.D.
Professor, Chemistry
Oakton College

Ella Whitehead
Assistant Director of Enrollment for Equity Outreach
Oakton College

External (Community)

Greg Beitel, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Molecular Bioscience
Northwestern University

Ami LeFevre
Director of Science
Niles West High School

Jeff Rylander
Instructional Supervisor for Science
Glenbrook South High School

Rebecca Stewart
District CTE Department Chair
Maine Township District 207

Michelle Vasquez
Post-secondary Counselor
Evanston Township High School

David Wartowski
STEM Director
District 69

Dianna Yu
Director of Science
Niles North High School

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

Contact Us

Joe Kotowski
Director, Center for Promoting STEM
Professor, Mechanical Design & Mathematics
Room B231, Skokie

Gloria Liu
Coordinator & Co-Director, Center for Promoting STEM
Room 2158, Des Plaines