Education Pioneers: CEC Co-Founders Retire After 4 Decades

Photos courtesy Child Educational Center
Elyssa and Eric Nelson have fun at the Child Educational Center’s Oak Grove preschool yard in the early 1980s.

When Eric and Elyssa Nelson founded the Child Educational Center more than 40 years ago, they aimed to create not just a child-care facility but a center to foster the holistic psychological and physical development of children, largely through healthful outdoor play.
“We thought of ourselves as creating a community, not a child-care center. We knew that happy teachers make happy children make happy parents. … We wanted love to be at the center of what we were doing,” said Eric Nelson, who was asked by Caltech and Jet Propulsion Laboratory officials to help expand child-care options for employees and establish a La Cañada Flintridge campus, which opened in 1979.
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Local JPL Physicist Joins Pandemic Fight by Creating Life-Saving Device

Photo courtesy Arbi Karapetian
Arbi Karapetian, a La Cañada Flintridge resident and JPL scientist, works from his makeshift home office to help create VITAL, a new ventilator tailored to treat COVID-19 patients.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory made headlines recently after announcing its scientists — in just 37 days — have developed a high-pressure ventilator prototype tailored for coronavirus patients which was given the green light by doctors at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, one of the epicenters of the disease in the United States.
JPL, based in La Cañada Flintridge, is well-known as home base to many local engineers, physicists and researchers who work there, and one resident in particular served as a critical member on the JPL team that created the life-saving device, called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally). The device has been created to free up the nation’s limited supply of traditional ventilators with the intent they may be used on patients with the most severe COVID-19 symptoms.
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Life Takes Quite a Turn for LCF’s Nobel Winner

Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK La Cañada Flintridge resident Frances Arnold, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry on Oct. 3, said she enjoys sharing it with the people who’ve worked with her at Caltech.
Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK
La Cañada Flintridge resident Frances Arnold, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry on Oct. 3, said she enjoys sharing it with the people who’ve worked with her at Caltech.

Lately, everybody wants to pick the brain of La Cañada Flintridge resident Frances Arnold.
That’s what can happen when you win the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Arnold, a professor of chemical engineering at Caltech, said this week that she has been stopped on the street in front of her home since her Oct. 3 win, sharing the prize with two other researchers.
“I’m on the front page of newspapers all over the world, so people who don’t know me are stopping me. But the ones who do know me send many notes — lovely notes — and congratulations,” Arnold said. Continue reading “Life Takes Quite a Turn for LCF’s Nobel Winner”

LCF Woman Wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Photo courtesy Caltech La Cañada Flintridge resident Frances Arnold, a chemical engineering professor at Caltech, shares this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry and is the fifth woman to have earned the prize.
Photo courtesy Caltech
La Cañada Flintridge resident Frances Arnold, a chemical engineering professor at Caltech, shares this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry and is the fifth woman to have earned the prize.

Caltech chemical engineering professor and La Cañada Flintridge resident Frances Arnold has won this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry, her institution’s first female recipient in that category.
Arnold is credited with half of the prize, with the other half split between George Smith at the University of Missouri and Gregory Winter at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the U.K. She was awarded, according to the Nobel Committee, for “the directed evolution of enzymes,” a process she pioneered during the 1990s and continues to improve today even after its wide implementation. Continue reading “LCF Woman Wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry”

Criteria Being Developed for SMHS/Caltech Collaboration

San Marino High School officials Monday highlighted what could be part of the selection criteria for the school’s pioneering STEM program with nearby Caltech starting next school year.
The endeavor, which was recently announced, follows a few years’ worth of effort from officials at each campus. New SMHS Principal Issaic Gates helped mold those ideas into what the district announced in February. Continue reading “Criteria Being Developed for SMHS/Caltech Collaboration”