STEM Programs

STEM Programs at Cochise

Careers in the science, technology, engineering and math fields are growing steadily. Cochise College understands the importance of providing great STEM opportunities for students pursuing a career that falls in these fields. We partner with local and nationwide companies to provide real-world internships or employment to expand students’ resumes.

Our K-12 Outreach programs strive to provide creative and fun real-world activities that promote a STEM pathway for students.

Research & Internships

Cochise STEM Research

One key educational movement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),  is a focus on the understanding of scientific principles that are enhanced through inquiry-based instruction and problem-based learning strategies through research. The Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) Website has spearheaded this effort to reform research education at the community college level. CCURI is providing resources for institutional partners, such as Cochise College, through introductory workshops, start-up supplies, and faculty development opportunities. CCURI is sponsored by principal investigators at Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) and funded by NSF (website).

Over the past several years the Chemistry Department at Cochise College has conducted an on-going honor’s project for selected second-semester organic chemistry students with the goal of researching and developing of a multi-step synthesis of a molecule called dihydrojasmone, which could be incorporated into the sophomore level organic chemistry laboratory curriculum. Emphasis on this project is to develop current ‘green chemistry procedures’ leading to the synthesis of this compound. Interested students wanting to participate in this opportunity should have completed Organic Chemistry I (CHM 235). This research was conducted under the supervision of Brian Cox until 2012.

Since fall 2013, another research initiative at Cochise College involves a study of species diversity identified using high output covert infrared detecting camera traps made by Reconyx©. The cameras are deployed at Gray Hawk Nature Center located east of Sierra Vista, Arizona on the San Pedro River. The San Pedro River, located in Southeastern Arizona, is the last free-flowing river in the southwest. It flows north out of Mexico into Arizona and is an important migration route for birds as well as being a highly diverse area for other wildlife. Hundreds of bird species utilize the San Pedro River during their migrations and at least a third of bird species found in the United States call the San Pedro home.

Initial analysis focuses on cataloging and identifying species present as well as seasonal patterns and use of dry washes as corridors for movement. Future studies will involve tracking the four species of skunk and identifying individuals based on DNA analysis of scat. Research will also focus on cougar activity along the San Pedro River. Further observation and recording of natural means of navigation through the area may aid in the creation of protected routes for animals along the San Pedro River.

We would like to acknowledge Sandy Anderson, Director of Gray Hawk Nature Center, for her support of this project. She allows us use of Gray Hawk as well as cameras and has an infinite knowledge of the San Pedro River and Southeast Arizona specifically and natural history in general.

For more information contact  Edmund Priddis or Tasneem Ashraf, both faculty in the Science Department at Cochise College.

Some Cochise College Science Faculty are currently performing undergraduate research using Bean Beetles (Callosobruchus maculatus; Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Bruchinae) as a model organism. The goal is to develop inquiry based laboratory experiments that will be used by undergraduate institutions across the country. In these inquiry based laboratories undergraduate students will perform real research during their classes as they pose questions and hypotheses and develop protocols to test their questions. Research is currently being done on Bean Beetles to develop the laboratory exercises that will be used. The research is in the field of genetics and developmental biology and involves studies of life history as well as proteomics of bean beetles.

Research using Bean Beetles to develop undergraduate laboratories originated at Emory University and Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. From there other schools were recruited to assist them in the research. Cochise College is currently one of those schools. There is more information about Bean Beetles and its use as “a model organism for inquiry-based undergraduate laboratories” on the web at Bean Beetles Website.

This is an exciting opportunity for undergraduate students to become involved in real research. Involvement will not only increase a student’s knowledge and appreciation of biology but it will assist them as they move on to other institutions of higher learning. For more information contact Tasneem Ashraf or Edmund Priddis, both faculty in the Science Department at Cochise College.

STEM Internships

The Cochise College STEM Internship/Employment program is focused on providing Cochise College students in STEM academic studies to engage in meaningful work in local industries in STEM related jobs through internships or employment.  The Cochise STEM program:

  • Develops the next workforce generation
  • Strengthens collaborative partnerships with local organizations
  • Integrates students into the organizational culture
  • Enhances Cochise College’s vision of student success leading to constructive citizenship, meaningful careers and lifelong learning

For more information contact Celia Jenkins at

Cochise College students are placed in meaningful employment with industry partners demonstrating their academic knowledge and professional skills.  Employment opportunities provide a gateway to student success in the community strengthening our local economy.  Employing companies influence the college’s curriculum, certificate programs, and further fine tune the qualifying criteria for interns.   Companies influence a student’s life while building a greater sense of community partnering with the college.

Internships are a classic win/win for everyone involved as the intern gains valuable work experience while expanding their resume.  Students develop soft skills which can’t be taught from a textbook including interviewing skills, corporate culture, teamwork, dress code, professional behavior, how effective meetings are run, and results oriented expectations. A successful internship should encourage a student and confirm their chosen field of study. The employing company benefits with an inexpensive temporary employee and a potential new employee. These skills become the clear discriminator when students are later competing for employment.

After being recommended by college faculty, STEM students will be interviewed by the Cochise College STEM Coordinator.  The Coordinator will assist in resume writing, interviewing skills, and job searches.  STEM students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be in good standing at the college.

Cochise College receives valuable feedback concerning the types of courses or certificate programs local industry seeks, the caliber and character of potential candidates as well as precipitating industry good will.  The more contact Cochise has with local industry, the more proactive the college can be in preparing students for later employment.  This in turn provides higher placement statistics.

Transition to College and Youth STEM Programs

Cochise College offers several programs to help STEM students transition to college smoothly and  many more activities that will boost their foundational knowledge of STEM subject areas. Programs are here to help students succeed in STEM fields while providing hands-on experience that will give them a peek at future careers opportunities. There are programs for all ages. Each program is designed uniquely to offer different perspectives on a variety of different levels.

Partners & Grants


The goal of the PLC is to improve the number of students that select mathematics and engineering as a career options and to improve the success rate of students pursuing these options.  The PLC is setting up systems to collect data about student performance which will then be used to suggest improvements.

These improvements will be piloted and assessed for impact.  This group will be in a good position to address issues that impact students as they transition from one educational level to the next.

Directory of syllabi for Introduction to Engineering courses website.

Ronda L. FrueauffFacilitator
Blais CrossRay Borane Middle School Mathematics Faculty
Brian HaagVillage Meadows  Elementary School Mathematics Faculty
Celia Jenkins, supportCochise College STEM Pathway Coordinator
Christen McCrackenGeneral Myer Elementary Mathematics Faculty
Craig HopperBuena High School Mathematics Faculty
Dan MatchetteTombstone High School Mathematics Faculty
Freddie RubangDouglas High School Mathematics Faculty
Jennifer MartellSmith Middle School Mathematics Faculty
Kandi KimpelmanHuachuca City Middle School Mathematics Faculty
Katie TinnellJoyce Clark Middle School Mathematics Faculty
Kim GalarneauPalominas School District Mathematics Faculty
Kristy RitterCochise College Mathematics Faculty
Lisa MarablePalominas School District Mathematics Faculty
Melinda EscarcegaBuena High School Mathematics VP
Sandee TrevinoUniversity of Arizona-South
Steve RoarkCochise College Mathematics Chair

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative products and solutions in aerospace systems, electronics, information systems and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

Northrop Grumman Website

The STEM Outreach Programs Leading to STEM Pathways grant from SFAz provides opportunities for fourth through 10th grade students to learn about STEM and STEM occupations.  It also supports high school juniors and seniors taking college courses in mathematics, physics, engineering and applied technology.

Science Foundation Arizona Website

The goal of the STEM Industry Advisory Committee is to support the success of students interested in pursuing STEM careers.  The committee is involved in events that expose students to STEM opportunities, and in providing internship opportunities for Cochise STEM students.

University of Arizona Sierra Vista Partnership – The Cochise Cats website program is a partnership between Cochise College and the University of Arizona South designed to help you make the most of programs and services offered at both institutions.

Arizona State University Partnership – Point ASU is a partnership between Cochise College and Arizona State University specifically designed to make it easier and more cost-effective for students to obtain a bachelor’s degree.


The Engineering Pathways Partnership Project: A Rural Model for a Modern World (EP3) grant facilitates connections with STEM industry partners to improve curriculum and provide internships for Cochise College students. It also creates a professional learning council composed of educators from middle and high schools, Cochise College and the University of Arizona South to conduct action research aimed at improving student progress through mathematics and engineering pathways.

The STEM Outreach Programs Leading to STEM Pathways grant from SFAz provides opportunities for fourth through 10th grade students to learn about STEM and STEM occupations. It also supports high school juniors and seniors taking college courses in mathematics, physics, engineering and applied technology.

The METS Program strives to create an awareness and interest in engineering and computer science among students at the community colleges. It also provides assistance to these students as they prepare to transfer and provides resources to currently enrolled ASU transfer students to help them handle the transition to university life.

Motivating Engineering Transfer Students Website

The CCURI grant was originally designed to fund only 16 partner institutions that would adopt their research model over a four-year period. However, the number of partner schools has been expanded to 26 with Cochise College being chosen among the 86 total applicants for funding. Our application for funding under CCURI is due to the originality and uniqueness of the proposal written by faculty and by the diverse student demographic at Cochise College. The CCURI grant promotes innovation and creativity in science education at the community college that will increase retention and promote completion.

The NCAT grant program, Changing the Equation, involved a major redesign of the remedial/developmental math sequences at Cochise College. The modularization of the curriculum allows for students to learn at a pace that will allow them to master the course content by using commercially available instructional software.

National Center for Academic Transformation Website