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Jennifer Bean

PhD Student in Nutritional Sciences

Jennifer BeanJennifer Bean is a Missouri native and a Mizzou graduate of the Coordinated Program in Dietetics. She began her graduate career immediately following matriculation in Dr. Catherine Peterson’s lab. Her master’s research investigated the effect of known phytoestrogens in soy on bone health during lactation, a time when bone mineral content decreases. This research piqued her interest in vitamin D, as at that time its role in overall health not just bone health was beginning to emerge. Ms. Bean then took a long break from graduate school to work as a clinician and educator all while keeping her eye on the developments in vitamin D research. She returned to Dr. Peterson’s lab in 2017 to pursue her PhD in Nutritional Sciences. She is currently a PhD candidate investigating the absorption of vitamin D from food sources, specifically how vitamin D moves from the intestine to the rest of the body. She continues to be a full-time associate teaching professor in the Master’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Awards: Charlene Scanland-Evert Graduate Research Scholarship (2019)

Why did you choose Mizzou?

As a nontraditional graduate student, Mizzou fit me and my education needs. This includes the facilities, faculty, and opportunities that Mizzou offers.

What is your thesis/dissertation about?

My ultimate goal is to better understand the process of intestinal absorption of vitamin D (a hormone as a population we are unable to effectively make). The first step in that process, and thus my dissertation, is to examine how vitamin D leaves the intestine in route to the rest of the body.

Why did you choose the field you chose?

As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I firmly believe food is the best way to obtain nutrients. Nutrition science is a natural fit for my beliefs.

Have your career goals changed?

Absolutely! Progress precedes change. As one goal is achieved, one must reassess and set new goals.

Where do you plan to go upon graduation?

I am keeping my options open. As a nontraditional student, my path is slower and more convoluted. At this point in my career and education, I am looking more to industry or government positions.

What did you like about Mizzou?

Mizzou is a home I have had for nearly 20 years. It is familiar and family.

Who was your mentor?

Dr. Catherine Peterson is my mentor and has given me so much more than I can every hope to repay. My hope is that I can pay forward all the knowledge, mentorship, kindness, and patience she has shown me.