Explore STEM

Do you like to study living and non-living things, protect the environment, conduct experiments, and solve problems? Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers are among the highest paid and fastest growing. STEM programs at SWOCC can lead to careers in engineering, laboratory science, forestry and natural resources, medicine, and more. Our programs will give you the skills to excel and prepare you for a career that has an impact on our world.


Instructor Highlight: Dr. Aaron Coyner

“Physics is the science of discovering the workings of the universe. Teaching physics is the art of making the workings of the universe attainable.”

Dr. Aaron Coyner is a solar physicist by trade and Associate Professor of Physics and Engineering at Southwestern. He is an avid amateur astronomer, and a proponent for lifelong science exploration. Dr. Coyner has research experience having spent graduate school at Rice University, and a three-year post-doctoral research term at NASA/Goddard Spaceflight Center. He has teaching experience at the community college and university level in physics, astronomy, meteorology, and engineering.

Dr. Coyner’s goal in teaching is to make science and engineering accessible to everyone. He hopes to instill a sense of wonder and an increased desire for exploration among students of all ages and backgrounds. As a professor, he relies on making tangible connections with students through comparisons to everyday life or familiar references, and strives to create hands-on research and innovation opportunities to drive students to further exploration. These activities include: mentoring students in NASA OSGC SCORE projects in solar physics and other subjects; maintaining the Southwestern Physics Experimental Atmospheric Research (SPEAR) high-altitude balloon group - for students interested in weather and atmospheric science; and serving as a faculty lead for Southwestern’s participation in the statewide Invent Oregon (InventOR) competition.