Vanessa Westbrook serves as the science education team leader at the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining the Dana Center in 1996, Westbrook taught public school in north Texas. Her main focus was elementary science education. She was also involved in delivering professional development to elementary and middle school educators in formal and informal settings in Texas, aligning science curriculum for school districts, and coordinating district wide elementary science fairs. Westbrook has more than 25 years of experience in a variety of educational settings.
In her role as the Lead Senior Program Coordinator for Science, she develops, edits, and reviews elementary and middle level science assessment items; creates standards-based lessons for kindergarten to grade 8 science instruction; and collaborates on the development, delivery, and implementation of the K–8 science activities and professional development protocols with school districts in and outside of Texas.
Vanessa Westbrook is currently on the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Board of Directors where she serves as Division Director for Multicultural/Equity in Science Education; her other work with NSTA includes the Urban Science Education Advisory Board and the Texas State Coordinator for the NSTA Science Matters program. At the state level, she is the current President for Texas Science Education Leadership Association (TSELA). Westbrook was the 2004–2005 President of the Science Teachers Association of Texas and the 1998–2000 President of Texas Council of Elementary Science (TCES). Since 2007, she has served as the TCES Treasurer. Westbrook is the co-founder of the Texas Informal Science Education Association (ISEA) and serves as the organization's Senior Advisor. She serves on numerous state and national advisory boards that focus on elementary science education, informal science education, teacher certification in science, and increasing minority representation in science careers and science teaching.