Anna Fails (D.V.M., ’87; Ph.D., ’99)
Assistant Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Department of Biomedical Sciences
Anna Fails is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, teaching both veterinary and human biology. She began her doctoral studies at CSU in 1994 and began teaching in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program in 1998. She earned her Ph.D. in 1999. That same year, Anna developed a graduate-level human neuroanatomy class where she remains the coordinator and sole lecturer. Anna originally intended to become a veterinary practitioner but didn’t find it as rewarding as she’d hoped. Though she never intended to become an educator, her doctoral studies required her to take on a teaching assistant role. During this time, Anna discovered her desire to pass along knowledge and instill a love for learning and thought teaching might be a good fit. After 27 years filled with meaningful interactions with students and inspiring the next generation of educators, Anna knows she made the right decision.
“Dr. Fails inspires me by how enthusiastic she is about the content she teaches. She is always a ball of energy and it makes class so much better. She expects us to work and study hard, but she also reminds us to keep doing the things we love.”
– Liz Patton, graduate student (’25)
Eric Ishiwata (B.A., ’97; Ph.D.)
Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Ethnic Studies
An associate professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies, as well as a diversity, equity, and inclusion Extension specialist for the Office of Engagement and Extension, Eric Ishiwata received his B.A. from CSU in 1997 and focuses his work on supporting immigrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking workers throughout Colorado. For 16 years, he has advocated fiercely for his students while simultaneously pushing them to reach their full potential. A humanitarian in every sense of the word, Eric sits on myriad committees and boards devoted to engaging and uplifting typically underrepresented communities, while also searching for ways to connect first-generation undergraduate students to community-engaged work. He cites the growing crew of talented, hardworking former students who are having tangible impacts on the communities they serve as one of his greatest achievements as an educator.
“Eric is a tireless advocate who is always finding ways to help his students and doing work that puts CSU in a great light. I am constantly in awe of him and hope that one day I will have the impacts he has on his students and community.”
– Benjamin Schrader, Director, Adult Learner and Veteran Services (B.A., ’09; M.A. ’11)
Christina Minihan (B.S., ’09; M.M.P., ’10; Ph.D., ’14)
Assistant professor, Warner College of Natural Resources, Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources
Instructor, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Journalism and Media Communication
Christina Minihan is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and an instructor in the journalism department. She is an author, collaborator, and culinary entrepreneur. She received her B.A. in 2009, her Master of Management Practice with an emphasis in marketing in 2010, and her Ph.D. in culinary tourism in 2014, all from CSU. Her current research is focused on advertising and commercial service experience in both breweries and restaurants. She has a heart for teaching and loves to help students reach their full potential, discover their best selves, embrace their passions, and land their dream jobs. Outside academia, Christina enjoys building community through writing and her cooking business. Her latest cookbook publication highlighting the community is Cooking with Beer in Colorado, which unites various local chef and brewer talents.
“Christina Minihan is truly the most dedicated professor I came in contact with during my years at CSU. Her commitment to her students and to CSU shines just as bright as she does, and I would not have been able to complete my programs without her support, encouragement, and guidance.”
– Vitoria Dante, alumna (’19 ’20)
David Most (Ph.D.)
Associate Professor, College of Health and Human Sciences, School of Education
A CSU faculty member since 2003, David Most is an associate professor in the School of Education. Motivated by the teachers who taught him to ask questions, David encourages his students to see data differently and thoughtfully. In the classroom, he creates an atmosphere of collaboration and discussion with the ultimate aim of challenging ideas. David states his greatest purpose in being an educator is empowering his students to achieve their goals. He is inspired by those who are committed to building justice and is always searching for a deeper understanding of how statistical tools can be applied. He is consistently recognized as being an outstanding educator and also holds an appointment as an associate professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Informatics in the School of Public Health.
“David Most is kind, humble, and considerate of his students. The vibe of his classes was always welcoming and democratic, and he never portrayed himself as a professor who could not be challenged. He always gave us the confidence to ask questions even if we thought they might be too basic.”
– Hsiao-Ching Lin, alumna (’17, ’21)
Noa Roman-Muniz (M.S., ’04; D.V.M.)
Professor and director of undergraduate programs, College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Sciences
Noa Roman-Muniz is a professor in the Department of Animal Sciences. She grew up in Puerto Rico and earned her M.S. in clinical sciences from CSU in 2004. She began teaching at CSU in 2008, served as the Extension dairy specialist for 11 years, and, in 2019, she was named the director of undergraduate programs for the department. She currently oversees the curricula for animal and equine sciences programs and supervises academic advising for more than 700 undergraduate students. She believes in creating inclusive learning spaces where students are encouraged to ask why, foster their curiosity, and develop their passions. Her research, teaching, and outreach activities are focused on the intersection of human and animal health and productivity on dairy operations. Throughout her time as an educator, she has enjoyed developing and facilitating educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as livestock caretakers and farm supervisors.
“Dr. Noa does everything to the fullest, working her hardest to support her students and set them up for success. As a Puerto Rican woman, she is someone I see myself in and has become my role model. She is extremely smart and compassionate, and I strive to be more like her every day.”
– Miranda Zuvich, student (’22)
Steven J. Simske
Steven J. Simske
Professor, Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, Department of Systems Engineering
Steven J. Simske is a professor in the Department of Systems Engineering. After working for more than 20 years for such notable organizations as NASA, HP, and HP Labs, he transitioned to teaching and became a CSU faculty member in 2018. One of his proudest moments in teaching is when he was able to show a student how varied a career in engineering could be before helping her land her dream job. Every day, he works to help his students reach their potential. He is a firm believer that learning is not something we do but is what we are. He is also devoted to continued learning himself, listening to and using student feedback to keep improving his courses. He is the author of more than 450 publications, holds more than 220 U.S. patents, has authored four books, and is currently working on his next three.
“Steve Simske promotes a culture of trust, respect, and confidence in the department, his colleagues, and every one of his students. He is an advocate of the high-quality educational program at CSU and committed to supporting every student to progress to their highest potential. Being in his class is simply exciting. ”
– Aleksandra Scalco, graduate student (’22)