Skip to main content

Alumni successes


Natasha Briones ’19 

Natasha Briones, who will earn her second degree from NMSU in December 2021 upon completion of her master’s degree, received the Member of the Year Award at the Alpha Phi Sigma virtual international conference in April 2021. Briones was selected from among nominees from more than 550 chapters of the criminal justice honor society across the United States and Canada. Alpha Phi Sigma’s history dates back nearly 80 years. 

Briones, who joined NMSU’s Alpha Phi Sigma chapter in 2017 as an undergraduate, was nominated for the international award to represent the organization’s goals of excellence in service, leadership, unity and academic excellence. 

Briones is proud of what the NMSU Alpha Phi Sigma chapter achieved given the limitations of the pandemic. “Being part of NMSU’s Alpha Phi Sigma chapter has been the greatest honor,” she says. “This chapter is truly about unity and service because even with COVID-19 this chapter still found ways to serve the Las Cruces community.” 

Amanda Adame ’19 

Greg Fant ’90 

Greg Fant began his career at NMSU in the Department of Music, and after 30 years of service retired in 2020 as deputy provost. The New Mexico Music Educators Association named Fant to its 2021 Hall of Fame for his contributions to music education. 

Fant joined NMSU as the associate director of bands in 1990 as a conductor, saxophonist and tenured professor in music. As associate director of bands, Fant was responsible for the Pride Marching Band and the Tournament of Bands Marching Festival. 

Highlights of his work include updating the music education curriculum at NMSU, leading the music department through a successful re-accreditation and directing the Pride Band in a performance for the Prince of Monaco. 

Before serving as deputy provost from 2011 to 2020, he was interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences twice between 2007 and 2010 while moving the ASNMSU Center for the Arts project forward to its groundbreaking. 

Minerva Baumann ’13 

Cassandra Suther ’17 

One in 10 people in the United States is impacted by food allergies, but what if more exposure to food viruses in childhood could prevent it? 

Cassandra Suther is studying the effect of norovirus on the development of severe food allergies thanks to a $180,000 predoctoral fellowship from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

Suther will receive her Ph.D. in food science at the University of Massachusetts- Amherst in 2022 and plans to continue allergy research there. 

“Food allergies are thought to be heavily linked to reduced diversity of the gut microbiome and its immune effects,” Suther says. “Based upon data that previously has been reported, we suspect infection with norovirus may actually have the potential to reduce the likelihood of someone developing food allergies.” 

The USDA-NIFA initiative focuses on developing the next generation of research, education and Extension professionals in food and agricultural sciences. 

Minerva Baumann ’13