Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

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

Our programs run the gamut from manufacturing and nanotechnology to nursing and phlebotomy. Some programs lead directly to certificates and a quick entry into the workforce, while others 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 Community 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.

(NOTE: This program is designed for students who have not completed ENG 102, humanities, and BIO 106 courses.)

All qualified applicants are welcome.

STEM Scholars receive:

  • Scholarships
    As a STEM Scholar, you'll have access to financial support covering Oakton tuition, fees and associated school and living costs up to the Cost of Attendance.
  • Faculty Mentor
    You'll have a one-on-one relationship with a dedicated STEM faculty mentor.
  • Research Experience
    You'll get opportunities to engage in research coursework at Oakton and summer research internships at partner universities and institutions.
  • STEM Scholar Community
    You will connect with other STEM scholars in interdisciplinary courses, symposia, presentations, and other informal club activities.
  • Advising Support
    You'll get proactive advising with both academic and financial advisors to ensure the successful and timely completion of your studies.

How to Apply

The application for the STEM Scholars program is incorporated as part of Oakton's general scholarship application, found here.

Please contact stemscholar@oakton.edu if you have any questions or would like feedback for your application essay. If you are a recently graduated high school student, you will be asked to submit your high school transcript to Oakton if you haven't already done so.

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. These 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, and you will 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

Basic Nurse Assistant Training

Chair – Jhosa Pagulayan, Professor, Basic Nurse Assistant Training
jpagulay@oakton.edu

Donna Dickson, Professor of Basic Nurse Assistant Training
ddickson@oakton.edu

Bincy Reginold, Distinguished Professor, Basic Nurse Assistant Training
breginold@oakton.edu

Sheila Zabin, Professor, Basic Nurse Assistant Training
szabin@oakton.edu

Biological Sciences

Chair – Nicole Perry, Professor of Biology
nperry@oakton.edu

Coordinator, A&P - Kanchana Mendes, Professor of Biology
kmendes@oakton.edu

Paul Gulezian, Professor of Biology
Co-coordinator, Environmental Science
pgulezia@oakton.edu

Stephanie Levi Blumer, Associate Professor of Biology
sblumer@oakton.edu

Nizar Handzic, Professor of Biology
nhandzic@oakton.edu

Khursheed Ichhaporia, Associate Professor of Biology
kichhapo@oakton.edu

Harper Mazock, Assistant Professor of Biology
hmazock@oakton.edu

Kalpa Patel, Professor of Biology
kppatel@oakton.edu

Kritika Pershad, Associate Professor of Biology
kpershad@oakton.edu

Bill Strond, Professor of Biology
bstrond@oakton.edu

Kristi Zenchak, Professor of Biology
zenchak@oakton.edu

Suzanne Ziegenhorn, Associate Professor of Biology
sziegenh@oakton.edu

Cannabis Studies

Chair – Stephen Fix, Assistant Professor of Cannabis Studies
sfix@oakton.edu

Computer Networking and Systems

(Cisco; Microsoft)

Chair — Reza Dai, Distinguished Professor, Electronics, Local Area Networks, and Mathematics
rdai@oakton.edu

Computer Applications for Business

Coordinator, Doris Gronseth, Distinguished Professor, Computer Technologies, Information Systems and Business
dgronset@oakton.edu

Coordinator, John Stryker, Distinguished Professor of Computer Technologies and Information Systems
jstryker@oakton.edu

Computer Information Systems

Chair, John Stryker, Distinguished Professor of Computer Technologies and Information Systems
jstryker@oakton.edu

Co-coordinator, Ragaa Abdallah, Professor of Computer Technologies and Information Systems
rabdalla@oakton.edu

Coordinator, Doris Gronseth, Distinguished Professor, Computer Technologies, Information Systems and Business
dgronset@oakton.edu

Clarence Sistrunk, Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems and Computer Networking and Systems
csistrun@oakton.edu

Computer Science

Coordinator, Ivan Temesvari, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
itemisva@oakton.edu

Electronics and Computer Technology

Chair — Majid Ghadiri, Distinguished Professor, Electronics/LAN
mghadiri@oakton.edu

Engineering

Chair — Joe Kotowski, Distinguished Professor, Mechanical Design and Mathematics
koto@oakton.edu

Jeff Cabay, Instructor, Engineering
jcabay@oakton.edu

Health Information Technology

Chair – Hanna Wierzchowski, Professor of Health Information Technology
hwierzchowski@oakton.edu

Adriana Raicu, Assistant Professor of Health Information Technology
araicu@oakton.edu

Manufacturing

Coordinator, Boguslaw Zapal, Associate Professor of Manufacturing
bzapal@oakton.edu

Mathematics

Chair — Jennifer Reeb, Distinguished Professor, Mathematics
jreeb@oakton.edu

Maria Antonopoulos, Associate Professor, Mathematics
mantonop@oakton.edu

Mario Borha, Associate Professor, Mathematics
mborha@oakton.edu

Olga Cedrina Associate Professor, Mathematics
ocedrina@oakton.edu

Michael Farquhar, Professor, Mathematics
mfarquha@oakton.edu

Safa Hamed, Professor, Mathematics
shamed@oakton.edu

Anna Hammer, Associate Professor of Mathematics
ahammer@oakton.edu

Ahyoung Kim, Assistant Professor, Mathematics
akim@oakton.edu

Matthew Lee, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
mlee@oakton.edu

Christopher Saunders, Associate Professor, Mathematics
csaunder@oakton.edu

Carole Shapero, Distinguished Professor, Mathematics
cshapero@oakton.edu

Bradley Young, Associate Professor, Mathematics
Co-coordinator, Honors
byoung@oakton.edu

Dorota Zak, Professor, Mathematics
dzak@oakton.edu

Mechanical Design/CAD

Chair — Joe Cirone, Distinguished Professor, Professor of CAD/Mechanical Design and Manufacturing
jcirone@oakton.edu

Coordinator, Boguslaw Zapal, Associate Professor, Manufacturing, Mechanical Design/CAD Programs
bzapal@oakton.edu

Medical Laboratory Technology

(includes Phlebotomy and Pharmacy Technician)

Chair – Lynne Steele, Professor of Medical Laboratory Technology
lynne@oakton.edu

Nancy Heldt, Professor of Medical Laboratory Technology
nheldt@oakton.edu

Nanotechnology

Coordinator, John Baliga, Adjunct Faculty
jbaliga@oakton.edu

Nursing

Chair – Margaret Gas, Professor of Nursing
mgas@oakton.edu

Coordinator - Ciaran O'Sullivan, Professor of Nursing
cosulliv@oakton.edu

Dezrine Dunn, Assistant Professor of Nursing
ddunn@oakton.edu

Nefize Fejza, Instructor of Nursing
nfejza@oakton.edu

Carla Ferguson, Associate Professor of Nursing
cferguso@oakton.edu

Mary Kakenmaster, Distinguished Professor of Nursing
mkakenma@oakton.edu

Carrie Kelly, Professor of Nursing
ckelly@oakton.edu

Teresa Kirwan, Instructor of Nursing
tkirwan@oakton.edu

Antoinette Maglione, Associate Professor of Nursing
tsolans@oakton.edu

Leandro Resurreccion, Professor of Nursing
lresurre@oakton.edu

Debbie Schiltz, Associate Professor of Nursing
dschiltz@oakton.edu

Winnie Sitt, Professor of Nursing
wsitt@oakton.edu

Deborah Wyeth, Assistant Professor of Basic Nurse Assistant Training
dwyeth@oakton.edu

Physical Education

Chair – Michael Graves, Professor of Physical Education
mgraves@oakton.edu

Physical Sciences

Chair – Chad Landrie, Professor of Chemistry
clandrie@oakton.edu

John Carzoli, Distinguished Professor of Physics
jcarzoli@oakton.edu

Theodore Gotis, Professor of Physics
tgotis@oakton.edu

Elizabeth Kershisnik, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
ekershis@oakton.edu

Gary Mines, Professor of Chemistry
gmines@oakton.edu

Zoran Miodragovic, Professor of Chemistry
zmidrag@oakton.edu

Melodie Graber, Professor of Chemistry
mgraber@oakton.edu 

Valeria Benson-Lira, Assistant Professor of Physical Science
vbensonlira@oakton.edu

Physical Therapist Assistant

Abigail Garcia, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Assistant
abgarcia@oakton.edu

Melissa Mendoza, Professor of Physical Therapist Assistant
mmendoza@oakton.edu

Mary Ann Nedorost, Professor of Physical Therapist Assistant
mnedoros@oakton.edu

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 Community College

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

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

Majid Ghadiri
Chair, Electronics & Computer Technologies; Professor, Mathematics & Technologies
Oakton Community College

Al Grippe
Director of Grants Strategy and Development
Oakton Community College

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

Tess Lesniak
Instructor, Biology
Oakton Community College

Shannon McKenzie
Internship Specialist
Oakton Community College

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

Juletta Patrick
Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs/Dean of Access, Equity and Diversity
Oakton Community College

Bob Sompolski, Ph.D.
Dean of STEM and Health Careers
Oakton Community College

Ella Whitehead
Manager, Career and Transfer Center
Oakton Community 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 Community 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
847.635.1268
koto@oakton.edu
Room B231, Skokie

Gloria Liu
Coordinator & Co-Director, Center for Promoting STEM
847.635.1924
glorial@oakton.edu
Room 2158, Des Plaines

Find us on Facebook

The Center for Promoting STEM (CP-STEM) welcomes the involvement, support, and sponsorship of corporations interested in the College's mission and strategic goals (PDF) (8 MB).

If you are interested in having your business or organization get involved in our STEM program, please visit the STEM And Outside Organizations page.