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Working at CSU

Professor honored by Colorado Women of Influence

August 16, 2013

Associate Professor Leslie Cunningham-Sabo in CSU's Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition was honored at the 2013 Women of Vision Gala as one of 12 recipients of the Women of Vision awards.

The event was sponsored by Colorado Women of Influence honoring northern Colorado women who have been singled out as having made a significant contribution through outstanding vision, innovation, leadership, and social impact.

Cunningham-Sabo is an innovative scholar who has spent last 23 years focused on childhood obesity; she has become an award winning teacher. She recently received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the program called Cooking with Kids 2.0: Plus Parents and Play. This program will be implemented in eight schools -- four from Poudre School District and four from Thompson School District -- over the next three years. It will then be adapted to the afterschool setting, and implemented in other Colorado school districts. 


Cunningham-Sabo's grant work with Cooking with Kids 2.0 keeps her connected to the heart of her community; her passion and vision for a healthier community is what drives her. The innovative program integrates hands-on nutrition lessons into fourth grade class topics, as well as into students' homes. 

The two-hour cooking classes with recipes that are easily prepared by students, and one-hour fruit and vegetable tasting lessons to expose students to several varieties of fruits and vegetables while learning about their cultural, geographical and historical significance. The students discuss the culture and history of international dishes they prepare or fruits and veggies they taste, and then share the meal as a class while they discuss what they learned. Other program components include strategies in the cafeteria to reinforce classroom lessons and active games during recess.


While she's only been in Fort Collins for six years, she already has an extensive list of accomplishments. Cunningham-Sabo is on the Food Advisory Panel for Poudre School District, where they focus on continued improvement of the meals being served in the District. She serves on two local school districts' wellness committees, in addition to other local and state committees and boards. She regularly review manuscript submissions for eight peer-reviewed journals and was a part of the USDA Human Nutrition and Obesity review panel. 


Cunningham-Sabo has also added a service-learning component to the undergraduate community nutrition course she teaches. She modified the course content to allow time for students to spend 15 hours of service-learning with one of 15 local nonprofit agencies. Additionally, in small groups, they design and deliver a brief nutrition education lesson or other activity to agency clients. Combined, these two components introduce students to the realities of working with community agencies and their specific clients, provide opportunities to assess the strengths and needs of the target population, and apply nutrition education theories and approaches they discuss in class.

  • View a video featuring Cunningham-Sabo and the other Women of Vision.

Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Colorado State University.

Contact: Gretchen Gerding
Phone: (970) 491-5182