STEM Academy Summer Opportunities

On-campus Opportunities


STEM Ambassadors Student Club


Club President: Anna Zhitnitsky

Advisor: Nora Cuevas-Murray, Professor of Engineering

This new club will organize the leadership and volunteer activities associated with the STEM Academy and STEM-related initiatives on campus and the neighborhood. Although anyone may join the club, to receive credit for STEM-related club membership, STEM Academy members must apply for a leadership role with individual responsibilities to fulfill. Positions will be filled according to student interest and may include Study Resources Librarian, Social Media Manager, Internal Marketing Manager, Orientation Coordinator, Member Opportunities Manager (for jobs and internships), Transfer Institution Liaison, High School Outreach Coordinator, etc. The responsibilities will be manageable within a regular student's schedule, with about the same time commitment as participating in another club. Many of the positions will accommodate students' work and study schedules and require no weekly meeting.


Earth Rover Project

Project Manager: Diego Santillan
Advisor, Jayesh Bhakta, Professor of Physics and Engineering


Earth Rover diagram


The Earth Rover project integrates skills in programming, 3D design, and electronics. Participants will continue building the rover that the Electronics Club has been working on over the past months. The goal is a prototype that will be a learning tool that STEM students in future semesters can continue to upgrade and improve.

Location: LACC Engineering Fabrication Lab. SCI/TECH 206.

Time and date: Fall schedule coming soon.

For more information, please contact Diego at


Quadcopter Project

Project Manager: Eddie Pineda
Advisor: Jocelyn Graf



We will be designing and manufacturing a homemade drone utilizing a microcontroller in order to program autonomous and free flight.  We will also design and use printed 3D parts for the frame hardware and utilize different electronics such as laser range finders, sonar and infrared sensors and other cool components.


Location: LACC Engineering Fabrication Lab. SCI/TECH 206.

Time and date: Saturday's from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm.  Beginning September 20, 2014.

Intel Galileo Microcontroller Programming Project

Project Manager: Jocelyn Graf
Advisor: Munir Samplewala, Professor of Computer Science

Through a donation of Galileo microcontroller prototyping boards from Intel, participants in this project will be able to work on an Arduino-based computer engineering project. For the summer, this project will be by application only and will require existing programming skills. The team will be expanded in the fall to include more participants.

More information about the Intel Galileo Microcontroller

City of Los Angeles Data Analysis Team with Mathematica

Project Manager: Jocelyn Graf, STEM Academy Director
Advisor: George Dekermenjian, Professor of Mathematics


Data Mining and Analytics is at the heart of a significant number major decisions made by government agencies, corporations and institutions. Policies and strategies in various domains are determined by analyzing large data sets. In this project the team members will be exposed to a number of modern techniques in computing and statistics to identify "high risk of fraud" in workers' compensation claims processed by the City of Los Angeles.

Students who would like to participate may join the "walk-through" of the City of LA Workers' Compensation offices on Wednesday. The time is likely to be 8-10am and will be finalized soon.

In addition, all interested students should attend an information session Friday Sept. 12, 10:00-10:30 in FH306.



Copper Hydride Synthesis Project

Project Manager: Chanda Shukladeo, STEM Academy Project Coordinator
Advisor: Glen Baghdasarian, Professor of Chemistry


A Chinese Puzzle Molecule… An Opportunity to Explore “Nanoballs” and Practice the Scientific Method

A recent paper published in a prestigious peer reviewed chemistry journal sheds some light on Copper Hydride complexes. Because these molecules are relatively new, they are poorly understood, and in many cases difficult to characterize − leading to existential doubts.

The LACC chemistry department is providing an undergraduate research opportunity to science and engineering majors to synthesize these copper hydride complexes, characterize them, and publish the results. We aim to understand their bonding arrangement and find evidence consistent with current literature.

So what is the catch? It is entirely possible that all the chemical data will not support what the current literature has found, leading to a counter publication that criticizes the current paper. Come learn about copper hydrides and see where all the holes are in the current knowledge base. We are looking for motivated students who are willing to put in some time in exchange for a fantastic research experience that will translate to many more opportunities in their future academic and industrial pursuits.

Students who would like to participate may attend the workshop Professor Baghdasarian will give on Sept. 19, 1-1;30pm, FH310 for more information.


Campus/Community Learning Garden Team

Project Manager: Taryn Dunivant
Advisor: Sean Phommasaysy, Professor of Life Sciences


This team has two components. First, they will be building a collection of plants for the STEM Academy rooms that represents the history of the evolutionary development of plant families. They will research the characteristics of each plant and their cultivation needs, then identify community donors or grow the plants from cuttings. They will fabricate signs that label and describe the significance of each plant in the Engineering Fabrication Lab.

LACC STEM Academic Conference Planning Committee

Chair: Omar Martinez
Advisor: Jocelyn Graf


Students with an interest in project management or a future in graduate school may wish to join the conference planning committee. The first annual conference will take place on the LACC campus during club rush week and feature the research and service learning projects completed over the previous year by each STEM-related club and individual students. Guest researchers from 4-year schools and graduate programs will also visit to present their research. Professors from 4-year schools will judge the submissions, and prizes will include conference travel expenses and materials for future research.


Off-campus Opportunities

City of Los Angeles Information Technology Agency Fabrication Shop Volunteers


STEM Academy members are invited to apply to work in the City of LA shop downtown by Union Station fabricating custom parts for LA Fire and Police Department vehicles during business hours. Students with basic skills in any of the following areas are welcome to apply:

  • Microcontroller programming: BASIC Stamp, Propeller, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc.
  • Electronics
  • 3D Printing
  • Laser cutting
  • Metal painting and finishing
  • Metal fabrication (CNC router and other equipment for cutting and shaping)
  • Welding
  • Powder coating

An unlimited number of positions are available for qualified applicants. Applicants will need to complete an extensive background check because of the nature of the work. Please contact Jocelyn or Diego for more information.