The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Mike Beilstein Oral History Interview. July 7, 2016

Mike Beilstein Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

July 7, 2016

Location:  Valley Library, Oregon State University.

Mike Beilstein (b. 1951) is an OSU alum who was a member of the university's first undergraduate cohort in Biochemistry & Biophysics, completing his degree in 1973. After a two-year stint in the Peace Corps and two additional years of work and political engagement in the Washington, D.C. area, Beilstein returned to Corvallis and spent the next two decades researching selenium deficiency in the laboratory of Philip Whanger, an OSU professor of Agricultural Chemistry. In the early 1990s, Beilstein also returned to political activism, helping to lead a successful living wage campaign and ultimately serving for six terms as a member of the Corvallis city council. Retired from OSU in 2007, Beilstein is heavily involved with a number of environmental and social justice groups including, for a number of years, an annual trip to Cuba in protest of the United States trade and travel ban. His interview details his OSU student experience in the early 1970s; the influential two years that he spent as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho; his research career at Oregon State; and his years of political activism and public service.