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Researcher Spotlight: Joanne Slavin

January 1, 2016

Joanne Slavin is a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. She has worked at U of M since 1981 and throughout her career she has focused on human nutrition.

Joanne Slavin.What do you hope to accomplish next?

Complete my current 5 graduate students. Finish my career with 70 completed graduate students. Continue to communicate about nutrition recommendations across the life cycle, help consumers understand that food is their friend not their enemy.

What do you view as your greatest work accomplishment?

My research is very broad. We like to solve problems. There are always lots of problems in nutrition but they go in and out of style. Carbohydrates are our base business. We are doing feeding studies on fiber, sugars, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, you name it we may work on it if we can get funding to support students.

What is most rewarding about your job?

All of my work is to train students. My students are out in hospitals, food companies, government agencies and working from home consulting. There is lots of work for food and Nutrition professionals so it is exciting to hear from my students to see how they are using the material they learned in fscn 4612 , advanced human nutrition.

What drew you to your field of study?

I grew up on a farm in Wisconsin and always loved to cook and eat. I completed a Foods and Nutrition project for 4-H and then I was a state representative for the Foods and Nutrition program my senior year. I got to spend a week in Madison at the state 4-H congress and knew then I wanted to be a nutrition major at UM-Madison. Ten years later I had finished my Phd. in Nutritional Sciences and was fortunate to get a position as Extension nutritionist at the University of Minnesota. 

What is your favorite thing to do when you are not at work?

I still own our family farm and I enjoy hanging out there with my sisters. I am fortunate to have a wonderful family that all work in the ag/food business so we enjoy outings like the state fair milk run.

What is your motto or personal mantra?

I always say to invest in people not careers. There are lots of ways to make a living so find a great partner for life and fill your life with family and friends. I am honored to be a professor at the University of minnesota but my most important job is to get out of the way of our amazing students what are "driven to discover" and make us proud.