ISU Extension and Outreach Welcomes Three Nutrition and Health Specialists

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University Extension and Outreach welcomes three nutrition and health specialists to its team. The three specialists, Mary Krisco, Rachel Wall and Katie Knobbe, will provide nutrition and health education across the state.

Mary Krisco began her position on March 11. Her home office is in the Polk County Extension office in Altoona. In addition to her work in Polk County, she is also providing education to 10 surrounding counties. Krisco is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics. She was the coordinator of the University of Wisconsin Extension’s Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program for 10 years prior to joining ISU Extension and Outreach. In her role, Krisco facilitates continuing education workshops for childcare providers and foodservice personnel, promotes healthy foods through a monthly television segment and encourages Iowans to sign up for the Preserve the Taste of Summer food preservation program.

“My hope is to help make Iowans feel better, have more energy and avoid the suffering that comes with diet-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer,” said Krisco. “ISU Extension and Outreach educators aren’t interested in getting consumers to buy particular brands or to spend time and money on products or methods that haven’t been proven to work. We’re here to provide accurate and reliable nutrition and health education.”

Rachel Wall began her position on March 19. Her home office is in Johnson County, and she will serve the surrounding area. Wall is an Iowa State University graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in diet and exercise. She completed a dietetics internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. She worked as an ISU Extension program assistant in central Iowa prior to this position in Iowa City. For her role with ISU Extension and Outreach, Wall provides ServSafe education for local foodservice employees, helps train childcare providers in appropriate nutrition efforts for their businesses, provides worksite wellness for area businesses and supports other nutrition programs.

“I’m excited to work in this area, and help these communities learn about healthy living and nutrition,” said Wall. “ISU Extension provides sound nutritional information to the public and that’s what the consumers are looking for.”

Katie Knobbe will begin her position on April 8. Her home office will be in Clay County, and she will serve the surrounding area. Knobbe graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in foods and nutrition and a minor in biology. She also has master’s degrees in public health and in nutrition, both from St. Louis University. During the past two years, she has worked as a dietitian with Fleur Heights Care Center in Des Moines.

“We’re very excited about these new field staff joining our unit,” said Nancy Franz, director of ISU Extension and Outreach to Families and associate dean for Extension and Outreach to Families in the College of Human Sciences. “These women bring a wealth of experience and skill in nutrition education that will help us continue to improve the health and wellbeing of Iowans to make us the healthiest state in the nation.”

By 2016, Iowa aims to be the healthiest state in the nation, a goal set forth by Governor Branstad. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is supporting the Healthiest State Initiative, and its specialists have been involved in various levels of the effort.