Professor of Biological Sciences at Missouri S&T, Dr. Dave Westenberg teaches microbiology and virology, focusing on broadening the focus of his students beyond one discipline. Inspired by his daughter, he is also involved with the American Society of Microbiology where he does outreach with K-12 teachers to provide educational resources.
In our conversation on October 7, 2020, Dr. Westenberg touches on the classes that he teaches and how he loves having students in the lab doing things like genetic manipulation and working with phage. From his own experience wanting to go to vet school but making a pivot to microbiology, he likes to encourage his students to expand their thinking from a restrictive pipeline to a navigable pathway. He also speaks about his work with ASM and how, especially during a pandemic, K-12 teachers need a lot of support. He advises the students not to doubt themselves, to find a support system, and to take risks with their education.