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JACLYN ST JOHN

Meet Jaclyn St. John, or “Sunshine” to her co-workers at Dairy West. St. John is an Idaho-based registered dietitian for the regional dairy farmer-funded promotion group. 

Her days are spent understanding and communicating the science of nutrition. Every day is different, whether she’s working with leaders in sports nutrition or collaborating with influencers.

Chat with her for a few minutes, and it’s clear where she got her nickname, which she earned through her “woo and positivity” that she expresses with her colleagues. The mom of two sat down to talk about how she and her co-workers rely on their strengths to get work done and the joy of homemade milkshakes.

What is your earliest memory of dairy?
Milk was a staple in our home growing up. We always had a glass of milk with dinner each night. My dad still consumes at least one gallon of milk every few days.

We also often enjoyed making our own homemade milkshakes and adding our favorite candy. We’d add ice cream, milk, chocolate syrup and our favorite candy to a glass and grab a large spoon and each get to stirring!

Dairy Queen Blizzards were and still are a family favorite—any time my Grandpa Slonaker would come to town, it’d be our first outing.

Another fond memory was participating in the Pizza Hut Book It rewards all through elementary school. We loved earning a free personal pan pizza.

What gets you most excited about dairy?
Dairy really is a nutrient powerhouse. It’s nutrient package, affordability and satisfaction makes it my go-to snack and meal addition—daily! The honor to work on behalf of hard-working dairy farm families makes me so proud!

What’s something people don’t know about your job?
Our jobs as dietitians is to know the science and then deliver a message in the most effective way possible to consumers. We have to be fun and engaging and use innovative methods. We can bridge the gap between myths and facts to help people make informed decisions.

If I had one request of people, it would be to consider the source when receiving information about their food—and seek an expert in that field before making any rash decisions.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
“Virtues” and “overrated” do not go in the same sentence for me. Virtues by which one lives define and often showcase their character. Virtues such as loyalty, gratitude, perseverance, patience, respect, kindness, generosity, service, responsibility, humility—just to name a few—should never be overrated.

What is your current state of mind?
This is a difficult time for our dairy farm families, so it’s all the more reason to strive for excellence in all I do on their behalf.

What is the quality you most like in a person?
The quality I most like in a person is a positive attitude. People who are optimistic tend to concentrate on achievements rather than failures and understand negative thoughts prevent them from moving forward. Most positive people are very grateful for the things they have in life and do not focus on the things they do not.