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Outstanding students may also qualify for Base 11 programs. Talk to your science instructor and/or the division chair. 

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S-STEM Scholarship

All communications regarding the S-STEM program must be directed to the director of the program.

Dr. Abraha Bahta
(310) 287-4236

West Los Angeles College
9000 Overland Avenue
Culver City, CA 90230


We're Sorry - This Progam is NOT Currently Being Offered 



The Science Division at West Los Angeles College (West) has been awarded a competitive, five year, $600,000 grant (1154552) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) for the Riding the Road Map to Transfer (RRMT) Project.  RRMT is a new program at West. 

Participants, who are recipients of the award ($2,700 per semester), will enroll full-time for the Fall 2013 semester in a major offered by West’s Science Division (Biology, Chemistry, Geology/Earth Sciences, and Physics). They will engage with each other and faculty from the different disciplines through thematic class labs, outside of class experimental and research investigations, exposure to scientific meetings, and interactions with science in the workplace.

The broader impacts of the RRMT project are numerous: (i) promote student discovery and understanding of science, (ii) promote excellence in the student/faculty relationship, and (iii) create opportunities, for African-American and Latino students in particular, to pursue STEM careers by successfully transferring to baccalaureate degree in STEM disciplines, or have them enter the workforce directly from West. The Program has established curriculum road maps that provide the required qualifications to transfer to a UC or CSU systems and/or acquire an associate degree.

The maximum amount of award will not exceed $2,700 for one semester or $5,400 for two semesters or one academic year. RRMT scholars will be eligible for grants for four semesters/two academic years.   The Programs has also established a series of directed-study courses in STEM disciplines and cooperative education classes that would bring in the private sector and other institutions into our programs. STEM students would broaden the scope and depth of their learning experience by pursuing directed study classes on a contract basis under the direction of a supervising STEM instructor. 

Laboratory work and literature research would be central to these contract courses. A sampling of the directed-study classes to be taught are listed below.


To access/print the scholarship APPLICATION click here



Students must complete at least eight units of directed study course work from the following during their four semesters in the program.


Astronomy 185 - Hands-on-Astronomy: The sky is more reachable than you think

Students learn to use planetarium software (inside the classroom) and telescopes and binoculars (for outside observations) as weather permits. Field trips may be scheduled to the Griffith Observatory as well as other local college observatories.


Biology 185 - Methodology Of Science

An introductory course in the methodology of science. Topics include discussions on Critical Thought: Asking the question and constructing the hypothesis, the experimental plan and prospectus, the role of Statistics in the gathering of data and its analysis, operations, graphical presentation of data, and writing the Scientific Report. A mini research project will be conducted and the results presented in seminar.


Biology 285 - Small Mammal Microecology

The small mammal microecology, population demographics and diversity of two different Mohave Desert microhabitats (Sandy Creosote Scrub and Rocky Buttes) will be studied. Students will learn how to identify small mammals and the live-trapping techniques used to sample small mammal populations in the field. Species identification, number caught, sex, and age status will be recorded and all animals will be marked and released. Data recorded will be analyzed and the two microhabitats compared. Anatomical, behavioral, and foraging differences of the various species will be discussed to explain species habitat selection choices. Using a generalized scientific journal format, the students will submit written reports of findings.


Chemistry 185.1 - Chemical Instrumentation I

This course in instrumentation stresses analytical solutions of environmental/chemical problems by application of instrumental methods. Students will learn sampling techniques, solution preparation, standardization, hands-on instrument operation, record keeping, data processing and interpretation.


Chemistry 185.2 - Chemical Instrumentation II

This is a continuation of Instrumentation I Sample metrix are similar but in this second tier of analysis the students are introduced to different sampling protocols.



Chem. 285.1 - Techniques in extraction of natural products from plants or animals

This course is designed to introduce and expose students to experimental methodologies that would raise their interest in science and enhance their critical and analytical thinking ability. Students will learn the methods of isolating natural products from plants, apply chromatographic methods to purify (isolate) products, and use the different analytical instruments such as GC, FTIR, NMR, polarimeter,  Spec-20, etc.    to characterize their products. Students then present their results and share their experience at a seminar.


Chemistry 285.2 - Applied Spectroscopy

Students learn the principles (theory) of spectroscopy as well as the preparation and analysis of environmental samples (organic) using a host of state-of- the- art instruments at the College’s facilities.



English 185.1 - Writing and Revising Using a Computer

In this course students use computers and online tools to enhance their writing and research skills. They will practice drafting and editing essays and resumes while learning basic word processing, internet navigation, online research (evaluating websites, using library data bases, etc) and research citation (annotated bibliography, citation formats: MLA, APA, etc.) Group workshops included.


English 185.2 - Technical Report Writing

In this course students develop the ability to analyze and organize information of various types of technical writing found in academia and industry. The course emphasizes the use of formal English to compose text for the purpose of conveying specific information on particular fields as diverse as computer hardware and software, chemistry, the aerospace industry, robotics, and biotechnology. The students acquire skills that translate complex technical concepts and instructions into simpler language and produce reports and documents that are clear and easy to understand.


Geology 285 - Taking Earth’s Pulse - What is beneath your feet?

Students will be exposed to a variety of geological field experiences. The field trips will offer students with opportunities to understand in greater depth the geologic processes related to earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, and the formation of minerals, fossil fuels, and groundwater. There will be field trips to sites not very far from West Los Angeles College, including but not limited to oil (petroleum) fields south of Blair Hills/West of S La Cienega, Igneous and metamorphic rocks at Santa Monica Mountains and San Gabriel Mountains, and Earthquake features along the San Andreas Fault at Palmdale, Devil’s Punchbowl, and/or San Bernardino.


Mathematics 185 - Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences

A comprehensive problem solving oriented course designed for students in physics, chemistry, and engineering.



Physics 185.1 - Intro to Research Methods in Science & Engineering

Students learn measurement methods, error, reducing error, by experimentation and analysis on Excel.



Physics 185.2 - Introduction to Scientific Presentation Methods

Students learn experimental and presentation (both oral and poster) methods.



Physics 185.3 - Introduction to Physics Instrumentation

Modern and traditional instruments are explored in more depth than in the basic laboratory classroom.




Professor Mesfin ALEMAYEHU has been teaching Introductory Chemistry and Organic Chemistry at WLAC since 1993 and enjoys teaching and mentoring young scholars. Professor Alemayehu obtained his BSc degree in chemistry from Addis Ababa University in 1982, his MS in Organic Chemistry form Bowling Green State Univesity in 1988 and his PhD in Organic chemistry from University of Southern California in1992.  Professor Alemayehu’s major interest has been in physical organic chemistry and synthesis methodology.

Contact M. Alemayehu:


Professor Abraha BAHTA is the Chair of the Science Division and the Principal Investigator of the RRMT S-STEM Program at West.  He has been teaching introductory as well first year college level chemistry courses at West since 1993. He received his BS degree in Chemistry from Point Park College in 1974 and his MS in Chemistry from the University of Toledo in 1979. He earned his Doctoral Degree from the Pennsylvania state University in 1983. Dr. Bahta’s major areas of interest are in atmospheric and environmental chemistry. His work on the kinetics of the ozone depleting reactions in the stratosphere has led to numerous peer-reviewed articles in science journals.

Contact A. Bahta:


Professor Elizabeth BELL teaches physics (for majors and non-majors) and introduction to astronomy.  She joins WLAC from Boeing, where her award winning contributions to simulated dynamic mod

els of threat assessment and defensive response algorithms led to significant recognition by Boeing and U.S. military leadership.  Professor Bell holds degrees in Physics (MS) and Astrophysics (BS) with an emphasis on Solar Physics and solar energy modeling.  Her interests include topics in theoretical astrophysics, the physics of music, and observational astronomy and astrophotography.

Contact E. Bell:


Mark PRACHER is West’s dean of sponsored programs and resource development and participated with the Science faculty in preparing the NSF S-STEM proposal.  His role in the project is that of in-house consultant to the PI and co-PIs as they plan and implement the exciting array of activities in which students can participate.

Contact M. Pracher:


Dr. Michael (Tony) RECHT is a wildlife biologist specializing in Behavioral Ecology.  He received his BA in Zoology from UCLA in 1968 and his MS in Zoology, with a Paleontology/Comparative Anatomy Major, from CSULA in 1971. In 1973 he returned to UCLA to pursue his Doctorate in Biology by studying the Behavioral Ecology of the California State-Listed Mohave Ground Squirrel, Spermophilus mohavensis using the relatively new technique of Biotelemetry. This technique, the fitting of animals with radio transmitters, led to many new discoveries of the behavior and ecology of free-ranging mammals and reptiles in the field under natural conditions.  Animals studied include the Antelope Ground Squirrel, Ammospermophilus leucurus, the carnivorous Grasshopper Mouse, Onychomys torridus, Norway and Roof Rats, Rattus norvegicus and R. rattus, and the endangered Bolson Tortoise, Gopherus flavvomarginatus.

Contact M. Recht:


Dr. Beraki WOLDEHAIMANOT is a geologist who received training from three different continents, all with their unique geological setting: undergraduate in Ethiopia, post graduate (Masters) in India, and PhD in Germany. Professor Woldehaimanot brings invaluable experience from the mining industry: he has worked for four years as a geologist/geophysicist in search for gold and base metals and carried out seismic surveys for dam foundation studies. He has over ten years of experience as a Geology Professor and researcher at an overseas university (Eritrea, East Africa). Since 2007 he taught geology, oceanography and environmental science classes at various colleges and universities in southern California. He loves field trips. His interests include tectonics and earthquakes.

Contact B.


Prof. Holly BAILEY-HOFMANN, originally from the Philadelphia area, studied at De Sales University in Pennsylvania, St. Mary's College of Maryland (B.A. English) and the University of Cincinnati (M.A. English.) She joined West’s faculty in 2003. Prof. Hofmann teaches courses in grammar (Eng 94 and Eng 21), writing, critical thinking, and literature (Eng 101, 102, 103) and creative writing (Eng 127). In addition to her English classes, Prof. Hofmann has worked as a Title V trainer at West, training faculty in technology-related applications and pedagogical innovation such as podcasting, ePortfolios, software applications, and online teaching and learning. She serves on the Technology committee and the Academic Senate, and is the coordinator of the Annual Student Poster Showcase each spring. Her mission at the community college is to free students of academic baggage and give them confidence and renewal in the subject of English and as learners in general. Her interests include: languages, philosophy, cultural studies, language acquisition, historical linguistics, neurolinguistics, and learning styles.

Contact H. Bailey-Hofmann: