Second Floor

Connecting with FacultyIntegral to Whittier’s core liberal arts curriculum is the idea of “connections”—in essence, to take a topic or issue from one discipline or field, and to consider its place and impact within a global context. Emphasizing both depth and breadth, the academic program trains students to think critically and creatively as they confront challenging topics.

Nowhere is this idea of “connections” made more manifest than in the current facility. Home to one-fourth of all major programs—including three of the five most popular majors—the building also bears the highest traffic in terms of general course instruction, and the vast majority of faculty-led research takes place within its floors. On any given day, a student may attend classes here in business, sociology, and chemistry, work on an extra-curricular research team, then head to the computational lab for homework or the Physics lab for socializing.

Vital to the new Science & Learning Center will be an architectural feature that further supports and inspires this intersection of disciplines and activity. Planned throughout the structure—both interior and exterior facing—will be a series of transparent walls, enabling views both into the classrooms and labs, as well as to the outdoors, effectively putting “science on display.


1 Large Lecture/Colloquia Hall
5 Collaboration Zones
2 Specialized Labs (Computational and Health)
15 Faculty Offices
5 Flex Classrooms

FACT: 100% of Whittier students are required to take courses in the sciences, ensuring a critical level of literacy upon graduation.

Jonnie Capiro came to Whittier knowing she wanted a career in the biological sciences, but uncertain which track might be the most fulfilling. With the guidance of faculty mentor Professor Warren Hanson, experience in both research and an internship related to her major, and with the array of courses she pursued across disciplines, Capiro discovered her calling in senior year—working with animals.

After Whittier, she spent a few years volunteering and completing internships in animal care and management, then as a zoo keeper, which is where she “fell in love” with rhinos—even focused her graduate research on Indian rhinoceros endocrinology and behavior.

“Now, I have a dream job—caring for rhinos, giraffes, herds of antelope, cows, and deer in spacious exhibits,” she says. “I am grateful for the supportive professors and curricula that gave me the confidence to break out of the mold and find a career that suited me perfectly, not just a job.”

Jonnie Capiro“The combination of my major program and liberal arts classes created a foundation for lifelong learning. It encouraged me to go for what I want in life – especially if it’s off the beaten path.”

Jonnie Capiro ’05, BA biology, MA Interdisciplinary Studies, George Mason University
Current Occupation: Senior Mammal Keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park