STEM Student Conference



El Camino College STEM Student Conference

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STEM conference slideshow

Dr. Glenn Orton Dr. Glenn Orton, Keynote Address

"What do you mean YOU ARE a rocket scientist?!"

El Camino College is pleased to welcome our keynote speaker, Dr. Glenn Orton, Senior

Research Scientist for Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to the STEM Student Conference.  Dr. Orton graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Science in Physics (with honors, cum Laude) and earned his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in Planetary Science.  In addition to having extensive knowledge in planetary science, Dr. Orton is the recipient of the NASA Medal for Exceptional Science Achievement and author/co-author of over 110 peer-reviewed publications since 1975.


Dr. Orton's research interests include infrared astronomy, planetary atmospheres, infrared spectroscopy, and extrasolar giant planets. He is involved with several projects including the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, which is currently exploring Saturn; the Herschel Space Observatory, a space-based telescope that is expected to reveal new information about the earliest, most distant stars and galaxies; and the Juno mission, set to launch in 2011 for a first-time, in-depth study of the giant planet, Jupiter.  

As the keynote speaker for El Camino's first STEM Student Conference, Dr. Orton will describe a suite of observations from the July 19th impact of an unknown object into the atmosphere of Jupiter, and the effect on the planet. His presentation is sure to ignite your interest in planetary science regardless of what your background may be in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.




This workshop will give you insight into the transfer process specifically for engineering majors, and will provide information about the programs at the university. Have your questions ready for this expert panel of university reps!  

UCLA, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Los Angeles

Facilitator: Ms. Lori Suekawa, Articulation Officer, El Camino College

STEM Conference  



If you think robots are mainly the stuff of space movies, think again. Right now, all over the world, robots are on the move. They're painting cars at Ford plants, walking into live volcanoes, driving trains, and defusing bombs. Get the scoop on how you can be a part of this innovative world, uncover career pathways that use robotics and visit El Camino College's Automation Robotics Manufacturing (ARM) Center and see robots at work.

Presenter: Mr. Emmanuel Villaroman, Chemical Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering and Computer Hardware Technology, El Camino College.


Emmanuel Villaroman

Mr. Emmanuel Villaroman

Mr. Villaroman is a chemical engineer, manufacturing engineer, computer hardware specialist and network engineer, software developer, technology businessman and educator. He owns and manages Cool Carat Software and Certified Computer Solutions based in Hawthorne, California. He is also an adjunct instructor at El Camino College in Torrance, California and a visiting lecturer at UCLA..


Connie Zandate, Career & Technical Education (CTE) Coordinator, El Camino College


Connie Zandate 

Connie Zandate

Ms. Connie Zandate has been working at El Camino for the past three years managing the CTE Program outreach efforts and strategic planning. She received her Bachelors and Masters in Counseling from CSULA.



Biotechnology and the Future - California is home to the majority of the nation's biotechnology companies and the fastest growing industry in the next decade. Discover what this field has to offer, get information on the latest research.

Presenter: Dr. Wendie Johnston, Director, Los Angeles/Orange County Biotechnology Center


Dr. Wendie Johnston 

Dr. Wendie Johnston

Wendie Johnston, Ph.D. (UCLA, 1968) has served Pasadena City College since 1968, first as a faculty member and more recently as Director of the LA/Orange County Biotechnology Center serving twenty-eight community colleges in workforce development for the biotechnology industry. She designed and was the first Director of the Biological Technology Certificate Program at PCC. In cooperation with Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative, she oversees a wetlab incubation facility for early stage companies in Pasadena.


Dr. Teresa Palos, Biology, El Camino College


Dr. Teresa Palos, Biology 

Dr. Teresa Palos

Dr. Palos is in her sixth year at ECC.  She teaches Principles of Biology II (Biology 102), Fundamentals of Molecular Biology (Biology 103), and General Microbiology (Microbiology 33).  She has also taught Principles of Biology I (Biology 101) and Fundamentals of Biology (Biology 10).  Prior to teaching at ECC, she was a postdoctoral trainee involved in various neuroscience research projects at UCLA.



Learning the Basics- Did you know that engineering job openings are projected to increase 13.4% by 2014? Have you ever wondered what engineers do, what types of engineering professions exist, and what it takes to start on this career pathway? This workshop is for you! Hear what engineers and Counselors have to say about engineering-technology and the many specializations in engineering.

Presenters: Mr. Steven Cocca, Industry & Technology, El Camino College; Mr. Bill Latto, Engineering, El Camino College


Steven Cocca 

Mr. Steven Cocca

Mr. Cocca has been working at El Camino College for 24 years where he teaches a suite of technology courses including Engineering Technology, Environmental Technology, Manufacturing Technology and Electronic Computer Hardware Technology. He came to El Camino College  from a successful career at McDonnell Douglas, a major American Aerospace manufacture and defense contractor. Steve has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Engineering Technology and a Master in Engineering Technology Certificate from Project Lead the Way. He has also earned a Certificate in Nanotechnology from Loyola Marymount University and a Hazardous Material Management Certificate from UC Davis.

William Latto 

Mr. William Latto

Mr. Latto received his undergraduate as well as his Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from CSULB. His technical experience areas are energy systems for transportation, power generation, and emission controls. Project assignments have included design and development of aircraft, missile, space and ground transportation propulsion and heat transfer systems. As Engineering Consultant, he manages test and development of alternative fueled energy systems with a special interest in Transportation Applications. Past professional associations include Chrysler Corporation, NASA Lewis Research Center, Allied Signal Aerospace and Automotive Divisions, Bonded Motors Company, and CH-IV Corporation.


Mr. Paul-Anthony Quintero,  Math, Science & Vocational Counselor, El Camino College


Paul Anthony Quintero, Math, Science and Vocational Counselor 

Mr. Paul-Anthony Quintero

Paul-Anthony is currently a Math, Science, and Vocational Counselor at El Camino College and works with the STEM Grant to provide counseling to STEM students. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business-Marketing from the University of Southern California and after a successful eight year career in advertising/marketing, Paul-Anthony returned to school to earn his Masters in Counseling from Point Loma Nazarene University. Since earning his Counseling degree, Paul-Anthony has worked in areas such as nursing, Student Support Services Program (TRIO), athletics, probation/dismissal students, First Year Experience, high school outreach, and Financial Aid.



ECC STEM Alumni Panel - Do you want to meet professionals in the field who got started at El Camino, just like you? Don't miss out on this panel of former ECC students who will share their success stories of how they've transferred, and have moved on to exciting careers in STEM.

Mr. Daniel E. Aleman, Engineering; Mr. Estuardo Iriarte, Engineering; Mr. Steve Lopez lavalle, Mechanical Engineering; Ms. Ana Orellana, Aerospace Engineering; Mr. Armando Hernandez, Electrical Engineering;


Daniel E. Aleman 

Mr. Daniel E. Aleman

Currently, Daniel is a student intern at Northrop Grumman Corporation for the Logistics Engineering Department. Daniel received an A.S. degree from El Camino in 2006, a B.S in Mechanical Engineering from Cal State University of Long Beach in 2009 and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Engineering also at CSULB. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman Daniel worked as a technical coordinator for an Engineering Consulting firm and held various jobs in the restaurant industry.

Mr. Estuardo Iriarte 

Mr. Estuardo Iriarte

Currently, an engineer for Northrop Grumman Corporation on the F/A-18 E/F Logistics Engineering Department. Estuardo received an A.S. degree from El Camino College in 2006 (Mathematics), a B.S in Mechanical Engineering from California State University Long Beach in 2008 and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Dynamics, Control Systems and Vibrations from CSULB. Prior Northrop Grumman Estuardo worked for the Valero Wilmington refinery, Honeywell Turbo Technologies in Lomita, performed research for the National Science Foundation through REU at LMU, and served in the United States Navy as Aviation Machinist Mate.

Steve Lopez-Lavalle 

Mr. Steve Lopez-Lavalle

Steve Lopez Lavalle graduated from El Camino College GE certified as a pre-engineering major in June 2005. He started Cal Poly Pomona in September 2005 as a Mechanical Engineering major and finished with a minor in materials engineering emphasizing in ceramics, corrosion, and polymers before graduating Cal Poly in March 2009. He received an offer as a design engineer for Northrop Grumman Corporation in January 2009 under the mechanical design and test group, although not starting until April 2009.

Tom Krause: “If you only do what you know you can do – you never do very much.”

Ana Orellana 

Ms. Ana Orellana

Ana T. Orellana transferred from El Camino College to Long Beach State University. She is currently working on her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering while concurrently working on the Unmanned Combat Air Systems or Navy-UCAS program at Northrop Grumman Corporation in El Segundo.

Mr. Armando Hernandez 

Mr. Armando Hernandez

Armando Hernandez attended El Camino College as a Pre-Engineering major, where he was part of the MESA program as a student and Math facilitator. He transferred to Cal State Los Angeles in the Fall 2005, and completed his BS in Electrical Engineering in August 2007. Currently, Armando works for Henrikson Owen and Associates, a private consulting firm in Irvine as an Electrical Engineer. For the past two years most of his work has been focused around low-voltage design for new and renovated buildings.


Facilitator: Mr. Arturo Hernandez, Director, MESA, El Camino College


Arturo Hernandez 

Mr. Arturo Hernandez

Mr. Hernandez received his A.S. from El Camino College and transferred to UCI in the Winter of 2000. He graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in the Spring of 2002 and has been involved with MESA working as a Facilitator at ECC and also at UCI as a student. He has been the MESA Director for El Camino College since he graduated and loves working with students.  Mr. Hernandez is also the advisor for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) club at El Camino College. He's currently pursuing an M.S. degree in Applied Mathematics at CSU Long Beach.



Teaching Careers in Math, Science & Technology - Are you interested in career pathways teaching math, science or technology? Make a difference by becoming a teacher. This panel of leaders in STEM education will provide information on teacher preparation, credential programs, and scholarship opportunities for future teachers.

Dr. Kamal Hamdan, Director, Noyce Scholars Program, CSUDH; Dr. Judy Kasabian, Mathematics, El Camino College; Mr. Gerardo Sandoval, Mathematics, CSUN;


Dr. Kamal Hamdan 

Dr. Kamal Hamdan

Dr. Hamdan has nearly 20 years of experience working in the California public school system. He taught mathematics for over 16 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District. For the past seven years, he has served as the Principal Investigator and Director of the federally-funded Transition To Teaching (TTT) Programs and Noyce Scholars Program (NSP) and the state-funded, Math and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) at CSUDH and has co-directed numerous education grants. Professor Hamdan has been instrumental in recruiting and preparing a significant number of CSUDH teachers for placement in difficult-to-staff urban classrooms. His research interests include teacher preparation, urban education, and mathematics education.

Dr. Judy Kasabian 

Dr. Judy Kasabian

Dr. Kasabian has been involved in teacher preparation for decades.  Early in her career, she was a middle and high school math teacher and has been working at El Camino College since 1983.  Over the years, she has been part of teacher preparation projects, such as Science FEST and MathScape and has recently co-authored a report for the National Science Foundation entitled The State Of Affairs – Impact and Implications of STEM Teacher Education at Two-Year Colleges.  She has earned baccalaureate and masters degrees from Loyola Marymount University and a doctorate degree from UCLA.  She firmly believes that fun and excitement still have a place in the K-16 classroom and that fun and excitement are key components to engaging students in their own learning.

Mr. Gerardo Sandoval 

Mr. Gerardo Sandoval, Mathematics, CSUN

Gerardo Sandoval transferred from El Camino College in 2005 to California State University Northridge. Gerardo received his Bachelor of Arts in Pure Mathematics in 2007 and is now a calculus and algebra teacher at ANIMO Leadership Charter High School. He is currently pursuing a teaching credential along with a Master of Science in Mathematics at CSUN.


Facilitator: Ms. Naomi Tokuda, Career & Technical Education, El Camino College


Naomi Tokuda 

Ms. Naomi Tokuda

Naomi Tokuda has been an educator for over ten years, working primarily with Indigenous people from Australia to Arizona. After teaching both English and history for many years, she became the founding principal of a small middle school serving members of the Tohono O'odham Nation. She received her master's degree from the University of Arizona in Teaching and Teacher Education with an emphasis in critical pedagogy. Naomi currently works at El Camino College helping students to become teachers.



The representation of US women in STEM fields has risen dramatically in recent decades and great opportunities await females who choose to pursue STEM professions. Meet female industry and academic professionals who will share valuable advice on what it takes to succeed and learn how you can prepare yourself for the future.

Dr. Jennifer Chotiner, Biology, Mount St. Mary's College; Dr. Trinh Pham, Mechanical Engineering, CSULA; Ms. Ruby Vargas Lainez, Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity (CEED), UCLA


Dr. Jennifer Chotiner 

Dr. Jennifer Chotiner

Dr. Chotiner earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of California, San Diego, and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has taught several biological science courses at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles and is currently the Director of the Title V. STEM Grant. The research in her lab course examines how synaptic activity can specifically alter long-term cellular processes such as protein synthesis and gene expression. Through her research, she hopes to help unlock the secrets of how learning and memory occurs in the brain on a cellular level and provide potential strategies for recovering from neurological trauma and disease.

Dr. Trinh Pham 

Dr. Trinh Pham

Dr. Pham is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles, and is the Director of the Senior Design Program for the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology. She received her ndergraduate, master of science, and doctoral degrees from UC Irvine. She also has industry experience in the Aerospace field, and has had the privilege of being listed among leading combustion scientists as co-author of a lean combustion text. Her teaching interests include the thermal and fluid sciences but her specific interest is currently in renewable energy and sustainability. Currently, Dr. Pham is developing an approach to integrating contextual learning, design, and practical skills across the engineering curriculum.

Ruby Vargas Lainez 

Ms. Ruby Vargas Lainez

Ruby Vargas Lainez received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and an MBA in Enterprise Management from George Mason University. She has held various positions in business development with private industry, and currently serves as Community College Program Coordinator for the UCLA Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity. In this role, she is responsible for the implementation of the NSF Broadening Participation in Computing Project to increase enrollment and retention of underrepresented (URM) students in computing. Additionally, she is responsible for creating partnerships with community college, to increase the number of URM's transferring to UCLA in computing and engineering majors.


Facilitator: Dr. Jean Shankweiler, Dean, Natural Sciences, El Camino College


Dr. Jean shankweiler, Dean, Natural Sciences 

Dr. Jean Shankweiler

Jean Shankweiler completed her undergraduate work in Chemistry at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She received her PhD in Organic Chemistry from New Mexico State University.  In 1988 she was hired as a Chemistry Instructor at El Camino College, a position she held until 2007, when she became Dean of the Natural Science Division at El Camino College.



Contact Information

Idania Reyes, Director
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Grant
(310) 660-3593 x3243

Kristi Adams, Project Specialist
(310) 660-3593 x3244
STEM Office (Chem 126)