As Nutrition and Wellness Educator, Jenna Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to three central Illinois counties and beyond. Smith has a passion for helping food entrepreneurs plan for food safety before selling their product; she helped developed the cottage food website, From Garden Gates to Dinner Plates to serve as a resource for safe food production and sale. Jenna sits on the Illinois Food Safety Advisory committee, as well as Cooperative Extension’s North Central Region Food Safety workgroup, which aligns Extension food safety representatives in twelve Midwestern states.
In addition to food safety and food preservation, Jenna has taken a lead role in infant nutrition with her work in developing the website, Feeding my Baby from Cradle to Table. As a parent herself, Jenna understands the challenges that come with feeding a baby during such a crucial growth and development period. She also focuses on chronic disease prevention and management, specifically diabetes. She leads a diabetes support group where she strives to empower individuals to incorporate healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve quality of life.
Jenna has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences, Food Nutrition and Dietetics from Illinois State University. She received her Master of Public Health at University of Illinois Springfield. Before joining Extension in 2009, Jenna previously served as a clinical dietitian at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois where she specialized in medical nutrition therapy for the oncology and critical care population. Jenna is a current member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Jenna grew up on a grain and cattle farm in rural Sangamon County where she was a member of the Town and Country 4-H Club. Through 4-H, she gained confidence in public speaking, and found her love for food, including how it is grown and how it affects the body.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Commission on Dietetic Registration
Licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Certified Food Protection Manager, National Registry of Food Safety Professional
Certified Food Protection Manager Test Administrator, National Registry of Food Safety Professionals
Interdisciplinary Unit Team Award November 2020
Patricia J. Buchanan Professional Development Extension Award September 2017
New Professional Award, 1st Place Central Region,
National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences September 2012