There’s a remarkable woman that calls the Knoxville area her home. Originally from Toms River, New Jersey, she now resides in Jefferson City, TN. She’s the Coordinator for Continuing Medical Education at the University of Tennessee-Graduate School of Medicine; co-owner of 2 Chicks and a Farm; co-owner of Garden Delivery, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which sets up delivery locations for fresh, locally-produced items around the area, the 2018 Howard Baker Center Grand Policy Challenge Winner and to top it off, she was just named one of Knoxville’s Top 40 under 40; the best of the best in Knoxville’s business community based upon her dedication and hard work. Who are we talking about? Jennifer Russomanno.
Jennifer’s career journey started off in a completely different direction from where she is now. She graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2001 where was inducted into the Fairleigh Dickinson Athletic Hall of Fame for Softball. She received her BA in Electronic Filmmaking and Digital Video Design and worked as the special effects creator and title sequence generator for feature length and short films and television. She also designed movie poster artwork for a number of short and independent films until 2005.
Leaving this career path, Jennifer began working in the field of event planning in 2005. While continuing her career in this direction, there was still more she wanted to do.
After this major change, Jennifer returned to college to pursue her Masters of Public Health Degree through the Department of Public Health in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. As a graduate student, she was one of only ten recipients of the Public Health Education and Health Promotion Award from the American Public Health Association. Her area of research addressed the lack of farmer’s markets in East Tennessee approved to accept SNAP benefits and put her on the radar as a student to watch.
Upon completion of her master’s, she has taken it a step further. Now in pursuit of her DrPH, Jennifer and her team were just awarded the 2018 Howard Baker Center Grand Policy Challenge award. Her team is passionate about “raising awareness of the need for advocacy, leadership and nutrition about Farmers’ Markets involved in WIC-FMNP to help build, strengthen, and sustain our WIC communities in good health and wellbeing.”
When does she have time for all of this? Jennifer also works full-time as the Coordinator of Continuing Education in the University of Tennessee, Graduate School of Medicine where she provides accreditation and meeting management to continuing education conferences for healthcare professionals. She’s also the co-owner/operator of a farm in Jefferson County, 2 Chicks and a Farm, and is a vendor at several regional farmers markets. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist, and a Certified Meeting Professional. She’s been published in several peer-reviewed journals, still works with a couple of remote planning companies, and should complete her DrPH in 2019.