Sept. 13, 2021
This story is part of a series highlighting our new faculty for the 2021-22 academic year. Leslie Speller-Henderson recently moved to Missouri from Tennessee. She is part of a cohort of nutrition faculty from MU Extension that are joining the School of Health Professions.
Associate Extension Professor, Health Sciences
Tell us a bit about yourself. What brought you to Mizzou/ why did you choose to work at Mizzou?
I came to Mizzou in June 2020 to be a part of MU Extension and the fantastic Nutrition, Health and Families team. I like to say Jo Britt-Rankin came fishing in Tennessee and caught me at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Why are nutrition and family nutrition programs important to you? Do you have any personal anecdotes related to why this is your chosen field?
I am the fourth born of eleven children, and the first daughter. My mother fed us using staples or standards such as brown rice, whole wheat flour, dry beans, vegetables, fruits, peanut butter and honey. In addition, many years of reading Prevention magazines made me wonder if everyone had access to these documented healthy practices. I discovered that no, everyone did not, so I decided to help spread the news as a teen. After many years of working in community nutrition education and research, I still love it and want everyone to know these powerful practices.
What are you most excited about in the upcoming semester regarding joining the School of Health Professions?
I am excited about the opportunity to share the land-grant mission work of Extension with another audience. Yay!
What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work, I enjoy learning about people and their cultures. I have been exposed to a whole new culture here in Missouri.