‘I Am WT’ Podcast Focuses on Tiny Earth Initiative, Search for New Antibiotics

Chip Chandler Apr 06, 2023
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‘I Am WT’ Podcast Focuses on Tiny Earth Initiative, Search for New Antibiotics

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — An upcoming new course of study at West Texas A&M University that can have global implications is highlighted in the latest episode of WT’s student-run podcast.

Dr. Maitreyee Mukherjee, assistant professor of biology, speaks with “I Am WT” hosts Brae Foust and Tearanee’ Lockhart in the latest episode, available April 6 on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud, as well as at

Mukherjee, who teaches in the Department of Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences in WT’s Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, tells the host about WT’s entry into the Tiny Earth teaching initiative.

Students in Mukherjee’s microbiology class beginning this fall will dig their own soil samples around the WT campus and the Texas Panhandle, then spend the semester analyzing their samples.

“In that process they are going to be learning all of the techniques that we actually teach in the microbiology lab, but from a research perspective,” Mukherjee said.

Any microorganisms discovered by students will be catalogued by Tiny Earth, and the hope is that some students participating—whether at WT or anywhere else in the world—will discover new antibiotics, which can help combat the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance.

The Tiny Earth initiative is an example of WT’s work as a regional research university, the primary mission of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign— which publicly launched in September 2021 —has raised more than $120 million.

In the biweekly episodes of “I Am WT,” student hosts Lockhart, a senior advertising/PR major from Amarillo, and Foust, an Amarillo native pursuing his second bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, interview WT faculty, staff, students and alumni about what WT means to them.

Audiences hear stories about how attending or working at WT changed the lives of the guests, and how they’re making a difference in their community.



About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.