AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas City“If we delay, we put at risk our continued economic growth and future scientific discovery.” At the core of his call to action is that we encourage students – from preschool through college – in their mathematics and science studies. If we do this, the outcome will be an increase in the number of elementary teachers who love mathematics and science, high school math and science teachers, health-care workers, scientists and inventors. What will Whittier College, in our own back yard, do to address this enormous challenge? The answer lies in harnessing and strengthening the commitment, creativity and cooperative efforts that have long been a part of the town/gown relationships between the college and the community. Our economic and social histories are intertwined, and our futures will continue to be connected through collaboration on issues ranging from the Uptown Specific Plan to the education of our children. More than one in 10 Whittier residents with a college degree graduated from Whittier College. More than 200 graduates from our education program are teaching your children in local schools. And Whittier students and employees spend an estimated $6 million annually in the city of Whittier. But what does this have to do with John Glenn’s challenge to the nation? Whittier College is poised to work with the community on this issue. Indeed, at a recent “College and Community” event, conversations buzzed with ideas for future collaborations. We are one of the few national liberal arts colleges to be designated an official Hispanic-Serving Institution. Our Latino students (a little more than one-quarter of our student body) not only attend, but graduate, and many of these students pursue careers in health care and science. As one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the nation, we provide a unique education for all students on campus and, thanks to our community partners, off campus as well, reflecting the “practical idealism” of our Quaker founders. We can become a national model for college/community cooperation to address the pipeline issue for careers in health care, mathematics and science. Whether tutoring children to use computers at the Boys & Girls Club, working with Los Nietos schoolchildren on math skills, advising Rio Hondo College students who want to transfer to Whittier College to become teachers, or planting native species in the Puente Hills, our students learn alongside your children. Our “Students in Free Enterprise” developed a marketing plan to raise money to send local children to Yosemite National Park for a week. One of the most meaningful experiences I had was listening to second-graders at Lydia Jackson School present the books they had written with their “reading buddies” from Whittier College. Last year, the generous support of the McCabe Foundation helped us support more than a dozen students at the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier and the Fifth Dimension after-school learning program. And more than 100 students recently attended demonstrations by Caltech and Jet Propulsion Laboratory astronomer Michelle Thaller in the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts. Drive by the college on Painter Avenue, and you will see a college on the move – the construction of a renovated/new Campus Center. In a few years, we plan to begin construction of a renovated, new science facility. We know that students best learn science by working side-by-side with faculty engaging in research. And we are building strong science programs and new science space that will facilitate this collaborative work. We will have a center where students – from chemistry, biology, political science, and other areas – can discuss health-care issues and policy. And as part of the college’s commitment to reduce its impact on the environment (Sharon Herzberger is one of more than 300 leaders of institutions to sign the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment), students, faculty and local schoolchildren will work together on environmental issues that impact our region. And we hope to receive funding to support a center for science education. These centers will position the college in a leadership role in educating students – especially Latinos – for careers in mathematics and science, whether that be K-12 teaching, health care or research. We look forward to expanding our partnerships in the community as we embrace this challenging – and exciting – opportunity. Susan D. Gotsch, Ph.D., is vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Whittier College. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Editor’s note: The right to write the following column was bought in a silent auction last fall to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier. WHEN the Soviet Union launched Sputnik on Oct. 4, 1957, we in the U.S. shared the fear that our science education had fallen behind. A recent New York Times article describes the following years as “heady times” for science education. However, a half-century later, we face similar challenges. John Glenn – former astronaut, senator and chairman of the National Commission on Mathematics and Science for the 21st Century – stated: “We as a nation must take immediate action to improve the quality of math and science teaching in every classroom in this country.