Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
I was born in Ripon, Yorkshire, England, and grew up in Norwich, Norfolk, England. I attended George White Elementary School (Norwich), Thorpe Grammar School (Norwich).
Family: Husband: Oren Anderson (Professor of Chemistry at CSU for 37 years)
Two sons: Craig (Partner in a Denver law firm, resides in Colorado Springs) and Neil
(Principal at Straub Middle School, Salem, Oregon)
Grandchildren: Claire (Colorado Springs), Catherine (Salem), Leif (Salem) Sina (Salem)
- Leicester Domestic Science College, Leicester, England, undergraduate degree in Catering
and Institutional Management Colorado State University (M.S., Ph.D.)
- My M.S. objectives were to obtain a U.S. degree and to become eligible to sit the national
examination to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) in the United States. My M.S. research
was focused on nutrition in the elderly, with the help of a Fellowship from the
Administration on Aging of the NIH.
- M.S. thesis title: “Energy and Nutrient Content in Food Served in Nursing Homes Using the
Nutrient Standard Method”
- My Ph.D. was undertaken with the goal of becoming a tenured faculty member in the
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. My Ph.D. research was in the area of
nutrition education. I was hired to develop a community nutrition focus in the department
and to establish research in community nutrition that would benefit both graduate students
and the Extension program. The department at that time did not have a community
- Ph.D. dissertation title: “Measuring the Impact of the ‘Dine to Your Heart’s Delight’
Program on Restaurant Sales”
Employment Experience prior to CSU:
Dietitian at University Hospital, Bergen, Norway (1969-70)
Head Supervisor/Dietitian at Northwestern University Residence Halls (1965-68)
My previous professional positions provided the experience necessary to be an effective Extension
Specialist for the State of Colorado. In addition, they provided clinical, administrative, and
community experience, all the necessary components of a dietetics internship program. This was a
valuable asset as I assisted graduate students who wished to become Registered Dietitians. I later
became the Assistant Director and then Director of the combined MS/Internship program for the
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
What brought you to CSU to teach? I came to CSU when my husband joined the Department of
Chemistry’s faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1974.
What years were you at CSU?
Graduate student: 1976-1977 (M.S.)
Extension: Fall, 1977
Faculty member: Fall, 1980
Positions and Departments:
EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) Coordinator, 1977-1980, Department
of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Extension Specialist, 1980-2011, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Faculty Member, 1980-2011, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. I was hired as an
Instructor. When my Ph.D. was completed I became an Assistant Professor and shortly thereafter
received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. I retired at the rank of Professor on
December 31, 2011.
As an Extension Specialist and Professor my work was to provide education and outreach
throughout Colorado by working with Extension Agents and staff and other agencies that would
benefit from sound nutrition information. I also developed a community nutrition program that
included building coalitions with other state agencies, obtaining competitive grants to conduct
research, and developing programs in nutrition education that Extension Agents and other
professionals could use to teach members of the public. I provided research-based information and
developed nutrition education programs targeting specific clientele from the young child to the
elderly, all of which were designed to change behavior positively and to promote optimum health
and prevent disease.
On campus, I taught a graduate course on nutrition education theory and practice and over the years
taught the undergraduate capstone course and other special topics courses as requested. I had a very
active research group with a large number of graduate students who wished to work in community
nutrition. Most of their research projects also benefited extension. I was also Graduate Program
Director for the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition from 1999 until my retirement
and greatly enjoyed those responsibilities.
My research focus was in the area of nutrition education, where we designed and evaluated programs that can impact behavior. My interests were always in the areas of health promotion and disease prevention. I worked with specific audiences of all ages, from the elderly to the young child, as well as those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. In the later years of my career my interests shifted toward addressing major obesity concerns in young children. Programs that targeted Hispanics and bilingual audiences were a high priority, as were programs targeting audiences with low literacy skills, in order to better provide assistance to the most needy clientele. Program development also focused on those with limited incomes, and for ten years I directed the nutrition education program for recipients of food stamps. We successfully designed programs that used alternative education methods, such as the use of touch screen computers to deliver education via kiosks positioned in health clinics and community agencies. My most recent research funding was to address obesity in the preschool child, their parents and teachers. Out of that research the Food Friends program was born, which became a spin-off company in 2007 when the demand exceeded what the research required and program implementation became the next step.
Teaching and Mentoring
Advising and working with graduate students provided one of the major highlights of my career. I have had the pleasure and privilege of advising 60 M.S. students and 16 Ph.D. students who have graduated to date under my direction. I have served as a member of many graduate student committees, both in Food Science and Human Nutrition and in other departments. Fourteen of my graduate advisees have received research awards from the university and national organizations. Presentations of my research by myself and/or my student advisees have taken place regularly at various national meetings, as documented in my CV. Observing the careers of former students remains highly rewarding and noting that 12 of my former Ph.D. students are now faculty members at major universities and are now graduating their own Ph.D. students is very satisfying. One of my former students said during a recent phone call, “I must introduce you to your grand-child student who is joining the faculty at Montana State”—rewarding indeed!
Challenges, Rewards, and Lessons Learned at CSU
One must be a team player to work in Extension. I learned to multi-task and to try never to let a ball drop! Influencing students’ minds and seeing them learn and conduct good research was extremely rewarding, and watching and assisting students as they learned how to be effective educators in order to teach and work in the community and in Extension was also wonderfully rewarding. Challenges in the field of nutrition education will always be present, given the continuous stream of new findings from nutrition science. The best advice I could give students was to stay current in the ever changing field of nutrition science as we learn how new research findings require new advice that must be translated for the public. I have aspired to have a beneficial impact on students and our profession that will last beyond my career at Colorado State.
What did you enjoy most about working at CSU?
I enjoyed the ability to pursue my own research ideas and explore new avenues to deliver nutrition education. I also greatly enjoyed working with students and working around the State of Colorado with Extension. I learned to be flexible, to multi-task and to be able to drive state vehicles all over Colorado in all types of weather. Putting on chains on state vehicles was not a skill listed in my Extension Specialist job description, but it was certainly associated with memorable experiences!
Who were the people who had the greatest influence on you at CSU?
Without a doubt my husband has had the greatest influence and impact on my career. I never imagined in my early life that I would become a university Professor, and I never would have done had he not supported me and encouraged me. My two brothers were both university faculty in Physics in England, my husband was a CSU professor, and my father always stressed that education was the route to success. My husband supported my ability to obtain graduate degrees even while pursuing his own career in the Department of Chemistry. We have been fortunate to be among the small number of husbands and wives who have been able to enjoy rewarding and rich careers as faculty members at Colorado State, retiring as Professors and receiving recognitions such as the Pennock award for their contributions to the university. The Department Head who hired me, Richard (Dick) Jansen, also directed the path for my early career, spurring me to obtain the Ph.D. degree and challenging me to develop a community nutrition emphasis and research program for the department and to enhance Extension’s role in nutrition and health statewide. He wanted the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition to become a leader in community nutrition and have a program focus that would connect this department to statewide groups and agencies and enhance the graduate education offered.
What is Jennifer doing today?
I retired December 31, 2011, and since that time, my husband and I have enjoyed a lot, and maybe too much, travel in 2012! We have visited Australia, Norway and England visiting friends and family. In addition we have enjoyed being able to spend more time with our son and his family in Oregon and thus more time at our beach house on the Oregon coast. We have yet to spend sufficient time in Colorado to enjoy the mountains as we would like, but we intend for that will change in 2013 and spend time skiing, hiking, biking and enjoying Colorado’s beauty.
On the professional front I still have graduate students and their related research projects. One funded research project will be completed at the end of 2012 with the graduate student defending and completing her MS Plan A thesis this year. I also have a Ph.D. student who will not complete her research until 2013 thus I remain fully involved with a couple of students as their advisor. Food Friends also keeps me engaged. I have submitted a proposal to the Colorado Health Foundation to sustain Food Friends for another year as we complete the large grant that has allowed implementation of the programs for the past 3 years throughout Colorado. I am also forming a Food Friends Foundation changing the status of this start-up company to a 501-c3 Foundation to better offer and expand the program inside and outside Colorado as well as helping open other doors for funding. However I intend to take a back-seat and watch its success!
Update Fall 2014: the Food Friends Foundation is now, after much time and effort, officially a 501(c)3 Foundation, a public non-profit status.
In my spare time I enjoy more time for reading books rather than scientific papers and trying to stay healthy!