Santa Monica College’s STEM Initiatives foster the student skills necessary to excel in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math courses. Many Earth Science students have the misconception that the STEM program is not for them but rather focused on students with perhaps more of a physical science or math background. This could not be further from the truth. The SMC STEM program covers many areas of study, including many of the Earth Science disciplines like Geology, Physical Geography, Astronomy, Physical Anthropology and Sustainable Technologies.

Ok, so the STEM program extends to the Earth Sciences but why should I be interested in being a STEM student? Being enrolled in the STEM program comes with many benefits including:

  • Priority registration for classes and select STEM courses.
  • Science-focused transfer counseling and workshops.
  • Free STEM tutoring, peer mentors, internship opportunities, lectures, and activities.
  • STEM Scholarships.

Whoa, that’s pretty awesome! How do I know, if I am eligible to be a STEM student? You are eligible so long as you are taking 12 or more units per semester, have a GPA of 2.8 or higher and take at least one STEM class per semester. Beyond the many STEM classes on offer, you are required to take classes that will help you once you transfer from SMC, namely Counseling 12 (Career Planning), Counseling 15 (Job Search Techniques), and Science 10 (Principles and Practice of Scientific Research Course).

One of the great STEM initiatives is called Supplemental Instruction (SI). SI Leaders are students who have achieved excellence in a particular course such as Math 31, English 21 A/B, Chemistry 11, etc. They undergo training as tutors and two or more one-hour weekly “SI Sessions” to help students learn and understand material.

Beginning in Spring 2017 the STEM Center will be offering free math workshops in Math 31 (Elementary Algebra) and Math 20​ (Intermediate Algebra).

Recently, a new STEM Scholarship Program has been announced by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Scholarship is geared toward “academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who are majoring in one of the supported STEM disciplines.” Awardees will receive financial support each semester and get to participate in special NSF program activities each semester.

Ok, I’m convinced! How do I enroll in the STEM Program? Application are accepted annually in the spring with initiation in the summer. However, you can announce your intent to become a STEM student anytime to STEM office (don’t wait until spring!) and begin to avail of services such as counseling, tutoring and workshops right away. STEM is located third floor of Drescher Hall (DH 301). They are open from M–F 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.​ They can be contacted by phone (310-434-3988) or by email: stem [at] The Earth Science STEM lead is Dr. Ciarán Brewster, who can be reached by email: brewster_ciaran [at] For more information about the SMC STEM Program follow this link to their website.