Nutrition Educator, Researcher, Faculty Member Wins Distinguished Alumni Cooperative Extension Award from Alumni Association

Jennifer Anderson, one of the state’s most well known nutrition educators, has been awarded the Colorado State University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Cooperative Extension Award. She will be presented with the honor at the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner on April 29.

"Jennifer has been, and continues to be, one of the most productive and effective Cooperative Extension educators at Colorado State," said Milan Rewerts, director of Colorado State Cooperative Extension. "As a matter of fact, her reputation as a Cooperative Extension educator reaches both regionally and nationally. She is highly regarded across the United States as an effective educator, teacher, researcher and faculty member. She is the epitome of a specialist making the connection between the citizens of the state and the university through the land-grant mission."

A graduate of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State, Anderson has served the department, college and university in a Cooperative Extension role since 1976. As a professor in Colorado State’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition as well as a Cooperative Extension specialist, Anderson balances teaching and advising students, collaborating with other faculty members on research projects and reaching out to the community through activities that include La Cocina Saludable, or the Healthy Kitchen, designed to use grandmothers to teach Spanish-speakers and limited resource audiences to improve their health and the health of their preschool children through nutrition.

Anderson earned a master’s in 1977 and doctorate in 1987 from Colorado State. As a faculty member, she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in the Department of Food Science. Throughout her career, Anderson has considered the state of Colorado to be her laboratory and has reached people across the state with evidence-based information about healthy habits. Her work has extended to supermarkets, restaurants, the Internet, interactive media, newsletters and community and work sites. Anderson has reached thousands of people through her teaching at Cooperative Extension.     

Anderson is well respected throughout the state and nation for her leadership in nutrition education. One of the hallmarks of her career is the Healthy Heart Program, which helps modify heart disease risk factors through nutrition. In developing the La Cocina Saludable program, she developed touch-screen computers in health centers and food stamp offices where clients can use the bilingual program to learn about nutrition. More than 10,000 people accessed the program last year, one-third of them using the Spanish option. Other Cooperative Extension projects introduced by Anderson include a Nutrition News newsletter for seniors, available on CD Rom for Cooperative Extension educators; Healthy Choices, a point-of-purchase nutrition education program for supermarkets; and Dine to Your Heart’s Delight, a nutrition education program for restaurants.

Anderson also is a well respected scholar who has received millions of dollars in research funding for projects ranging from the Colorado Nutrition Network Nutrition Education to the role of N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in human health and disease to evaluating the Colorado Trust’s obesity prevention episodes. Anderson is author of book chapters and widely published in peer-reviewed journals. She also has published curricula and education materials.