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Exploring SPSCC's Science, Engineering, and Math (SEM) Pathway

By SPSCC Staff

November 23, 2022

The Science, Engineering, and Math (SEM) Pathway provides a comprehensive array of programs designed to give students the foundation they need to pursue fields in research, engineering, and much more. Included in the long list of subjects are Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Environmental Science, Math, and Physics. Courses in this pathway prepare students for a wide range of scientific and technical careers and transfer opportunities to 4-year universities.

Dean of Natural & Applied Sciences Bryan Powell and Math Professor Yvonne Fish explained some of the ways this pathway helps students complete prerequisites quickly, accessibly, and affordably.

Math Gateways to Opportunities

Dean Powell shared, “the Math Department wants math to be a gateway to students’ careers, not a gatekeeper.” He explained how they have developed accelerated pathways “to help students get into college-level math courses up to three quarters faster than before.”

He also pointed out that the Math Department has designed math sequences, so students only have to take the math they need for their specific pathway. In other words, “the right math for the right pathway.”

In addition, he explained how the Math Department aligned their lowest level, pre-college math course (Math 092) with the highest level Adult Basic Education (ABE) math course (ABE 065). Students who move from ABE to college-level courses and have completed ABE 065 can take a math course with Math 092 as a prerequisite, which reduces the number of pre-college courses they need to complete.

Professor Fish also pointed out that the Math Department has created an accelerated math sequence called A-Math 97 (7 credits) and A-Math 141 (8 credits). These courses help students in the SEM pathway who may need prerequisite courses to enter college-level math or need to refresh their math skills. Students can complete their first college-level Math course in two quarters—saving them time and money.

A former student of Professor Fish also shared, “I was attracted to the Associates of Science Pathway because it allowed me to complete all the required prerequisites science and math classes for the Bachelor of Science in Geosciences degree that I was pursuing. Completing all my pre-request science and math classes ahead of attending the university allowed me to focus on my major and future career path.”

SEM Science Departments Offer Students Innovative Opportunities to Shine

Dean Powell also explained how the science departments (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) provide Undergraduate Research (UGR) opportunities for students through guided UGR courses. These courses prepare students to complete their scientific research projects. This year-long opportunity culminates in a poster session where students present their research projects to fellow students, faculty, and community members.

The SEM Division also offers innovative ways to support flexible student schedules by providing a wide range of online and one- or two-day-per-week hybrid courses. Faculty have developed and refined these courses so students with busy schedules can complete their degrees without having to be on campus five days per week.

For more information about programs in this pathway, visit the Science, Engineering, Math Pathway website.

Science, Math, and Engineering