Kimber Finan – Using competitive athletic experience to educate students on optimizing health and the human body

Health and Exercise Science instructor Kimber Finan smiles on campus outside of the Human Performance Clinical Research Laboratory

Kimber Finan, instructor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University, brings her background in exercise science and human physiology, as well as her experience as a competitive runner. She seeks to educate students on how the human body can reach its full potential by optimizing health and performance. 

Tell us a bit about yourself! 

I’m from Bend, Oregon. I earned my B.S. in exercise science from Willamette University and my M.S. in human physiology from the University of Oregon. After completing my master’s degree, I taught in the Human Physiology Department at the University of Oregon for a few years, then most recently taught A&P and Nutrition at Central Oregon Community College in Bend, Oregon for the past three years. In my time at the University of Oregon, I also had opportunities to train as a competitive runner, help with collegiate coaching, and serve as a strength and conditioning coach in a variety of settings. 

Outside of academia, I spend a lot of my time running on the trails and in the mountains. I am a competitive trail and mountain runner and have been lucky to get to compete in races all over the world, including France, Switzerland, Norway, Portugal, and Argentina. Most recently, I got to run a race in the French and Swiss Alps. Running fun fact: I have the FKT (fastest known time) for running the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim for females. Beyond running, I also enjoy time in the outdoors hiking and camping. Although I have yet to find a dancing spot in Fort Collins, I also love learning to dance, especially West Coast Swing and other types of ballrooms. I’m not particularly good at dancing, but it’s fun.

What brought you to Health and Exercise Science at CSU?  

The initial reason I started exploring job opportunities in Colorado was because my husband’s job brought him to Fort Collins. But once I learned more about CSU and the Department of Health and Exercise Science, I was intrigued by the opportunity to contribute to and connect with such an impactful department that is shaping and guiding students who will have such a great impact on the health of communities and the country in the future. I have been so impressed with the vibrant and welcoming community of students and staff at CSU.

What are your research and/or teaching interests, and how did you get interested in that topic?  

I enjoy teaching (and continuing to learn) about all things physiology, exercise physiology, nutrition, health, sports performance, and injury prevention. Coming from a background of competitive athletics, I have always loved learning about the human body and how we can optimize health and performance. Also, through teaching nutrition classes and my own experience, I continue to grow increasingly interested in the power of nutrition and how much food impacts our health.

I hope to contribute to helping students gain the most out of their college experience in terms of the content they are learning, but also to support the development of a culture within HES where there is excitement about learning and a strong desire to have positive impacts on the community.

What is your teaching philosophy?  

Two of the things I really try to focus on in my teaching are facilitating active learning through discussion, case studies, and any other ways that engage students in the material they are learning. I also try to focus on making content interesting and relevant to students.

What is your favorite thing about CSU and the campus?  

I have had only positive experiences so far at CSU, but I think my favorite thing so far is the people. Students, faculty, and staff are all so kind and welcoming and there is a true sense of community and wanting to support each other here. 

The Department of Health and Exercise Science is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.