Anita Zahs, PhD: 1983-2019


Anita Zahs, PhD: 1983-2019

Memorial Mass for Dr. Anita Zahs
In honor and memory of Dr. Anita Zahs a memorial mass will be Tuesday, March 26 at 4:30 p.m. in Christ the King Chapel. A reception in the Chapel Gathering Space will immediately follow.

Anita Zahs, PhD, a visiting assistant professor of biology at St. Ambrose, died at her childhood home in Ainsworth, Iowa, on Wednesday, March 20. She was 35.

Dr. Zahs was in her third year in the St. Ambrose University Biology Department. Visitation will be from 2-5 p.m. at St. James Catholic Church in Washington, Iowa, on Sunday. A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at the church. A St. Ambrose memorial service at Christ the King Chapel will be held at a later date to accommodate Anita's family.

Anita earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry from Simpson College in 2005, and a doctoral degree in molecular and cellular biochemistry from Loyola University Medical Center in 2012. She did postdoctoral research at the University of Colorado-Denver from 2012-2016.

Anita Zahs, PhD: 1983-2019

“I've always found inspiration just being outside in nature. I like to watch things grow and change with time, and I continue to be inspired by the variety of life around us." - Dr. Zahs

Anita Zahs was born April 4, 1983, in Washington, Iowa. While at St. Ambrose, she was a member of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport, enjoyed reading, biking and spending time with her nieces and nephews.

Dr. Zahs taught human anatomy and physiology, environmental science and principles of biology.

Brenda Peters, PhD, said Zahs had a strong rapport with her students and her classes were "always full".

Despite a long fight with cancer, Zahs taught classes through spring break on March 8.

"She was tough as nails," Peters said. "She didn't let her cancer slow her down one bit. She was so committed to our students and she was fiercely independent. She was my friend."

An ardent environmentalist, Zahs lived the subject matter she taught. She walked and biked to work and rarely used her car, Peters said. A quote on Anita Zahs biography page on the St. Ambrose website sums up her passion.

"I've always found inspiration just being outside in nature," it reads. "I like to watch things grow and change with time, and I continue to be inspired by the variety of life around us. I often plan case studies and exam questions while walking or biking to work. My colleagues inspire me with their creativity and intelligence, and every student who walks into my office, lab, or lecture inspires me with their determination, imagination, and originality."

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