HAWTHORNE, Calif. — An online physics class was not exactly what Zari Williams had in mind when she chose to pursue a degree in computer science. 

What You Need To Know

  • El Camino College partnered with Red Rocks Community College in Colorado to create a Space, Cyber & Supply Talent Development Center

  • ECC prepares programs as they see broader demand for STEM jobs in a post-COVID economy

  • ECC partnered with CSUDH to create the Warrior-Toro Computer Science Pathway

  • Zari Williams is the only woman to take part in the computer science bachelor's degree program between ECC and CSUDH

“Honestly, I think it’s one of the hardest classes to take online because he does a lot of experiments that he can’t physically show us. So, it’s a little bit harder for us to grasp the concepts,” Williams said.

The pandemic might have made things more challenging, but it is not stopping Williams’ path to her future career.

“Currently, there is high unemployment and even with how technology is developing, jobs are closing. So, with a job in computer science, you kind of always have an open spot,” Williams said.

Williams is one of about 35,000 students at El Camino College where campus leaders are seeing a push for STEM jobs in a post-COVID economy. In an effort to support students like Williams that are considering a career in STEM, the college has created a computer science bachelor’s degree partnership with California State University Dominguez Hills and has plans to create a Space, Cyber and Supply Talent Development Center with Red Rocks Community College in Colorado. 


Dena Maloney is the president of ECC, and she believes these programs will help students fill the future industry demand.

“I hope what they will mean is a new pathway to a future that they might not have considered before. Particularly if, their career trajectory was disrupted by COVID or they’re in an industry where the jobs may return but not at the same level,” Maloney said.

As a student during the pandemic, Williams is hopeful that her struggle now will lead her to a career she is passionate about.

“I think there’s a lot of really cool jobs that a lot of people don’t know about, and I want to be one of those people that can make a change,” Williams said.

Until then, Williams will do her best to get through online learning so she can better prepare for her future career in a post-COVID economy.