May 12, 2003
A lot can happen in one year -- just ask Lincoln Westfall (B.S. ECE, 2002; B.A. Russian Studies, 2002). Since his departure from CIT a mere 365 days ago, he has moved to Germany to pursue a master's degree in biochemistry. He is married and now a father and is seriously considering medical school. According to an exuberant Westfall, his life is going along just as he has planned.
Westfall, who has always had a keen desire to understand other cultures, would someday like to embark upon a medical career that focuses on public health from a broad international perspective, but that is not the reason why he relocated to Germany -- his wife Rebecca is from Braunschweig. "I thought I'd come here [Germany] to do the additional pre-med work I need so that I can get to know her language and culture better while I'm at it," declares Westfall.
Currently enrolled as a chemistry student at the Technical University of Braunschweig (TU-BS), Westfall also teaches English there part time. "Maybe I can get them to hire me for more money as an in-house 'Engineering English teacher' who can help with actual engineering work while teaching English," he proposes, explaining, "I am trying to settle on side work that will maximize my pay so I can support my family and yet minimize the time I do work, so I can focus on my master's in biochemistry."
Westfall is about to embark upon a two-month long praktikum or research experience at the Gesellschaft fur Biotechnologische Forschung (GBF), or the German Research Centre for Biotechnology. Teaming with several Ph.D. students and an advisor, he will be working on a couple of projects, one of which includes conducting a detailed analysis of an opportunistic pathogen that tends to infect cystic fibrosis patients. Excited about this opportunity, he adds, "Later, I would like to do more research on the biochemistry of nutrition in the light of preventive medicine, which is my deep interest." Westfall credits his education at Carnegie Mellon for giving him a good technical background that enables him to easily contend with the dependency of modern medicine on technology.
While Westfall has a lot of school ahead of him, he knows that balancing family matters with vocational pursuits -- both his and Rebecca's (who intends to run a German daycare center in the States) -- will "definitely take good planning." He admits that caring for a child takes a lot of time and attention, and that "may mean my career could advance more slowly," but he and Rebecca are determined to "plan our lives together so we achieve our goals."
Reprinted with permission of Carnegie Mellon Engineering Magazine, Spring 2003.