Alumni Spotlight: Willow Jarosh and Stephanie Clarke

by Kelly A. Dumke

A partnership sparked at Friedman orientation; two entrepreneurial spirits with a shared nutrition philosophy; a start-up company expanded into a multi-city corporation with offices in New York, Los Angeles, and DC; and two Friedman alumni driving the entire enterprise – meet Willow Jarosh and Stephanie Clarke.  April’s alumni spotlight highlights the blooming careers of two up-and-coming professionals in the field of nutrition.  The Friedman Sprout caught up with Willow and Stephanie to learn about their growing company – C & J Nutrition – and their paths to success.

Describe your road to the Friedman School.

Stephanie got her BS in Nutrition from University of Rhode Island and I got mine from University of New Mexico before we each entered the combined Masters/dietetic internship program at Tufts.

Stephanie was a competitive gymnast at a young age and up through college.  She then worked as a diet technician in Newport, Rhode Island for a year before entering the Friedman School.  I had played tennis and soccer since the age of five.

We both had similar experiences with seeing teammates, classmates, family and friends in need of nutrition education that they could really relate to.  We met during orientation for the dietetic internship – we were each considering combining the internship with Dr. Goldberg’s Nutrition Communications program.  We clicked right away, and the rest is history.

What were you involved in at Friedman?

We both combined the Frances Stern Nutrition Center dietetic internship with the Nutrition Communications program.  The dietetic internship plus our Nutrition Communications classes kept us pretty busy and with identical schedules! We also each worked in the Energy Metabolism Lab at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, under the direction of Cheryl Hajduk doing nutrient analysis for a segment of the CALERIE study.

Each student in the Nutrition Communication program is required to complete a summer internship – both Stephanie and I worked at magazines in Manhattan – Fitness and Good Housekeeping, respectively. Those internships were very influential in our paths from that point on – they helped us see what we wanted (and didn’t want) in future jobs. We both loved writing, enjoyed the PR aspect of our Nutrition Communication program, and we also very much loved New York City. By the time our summer internships were over, we had also each become registered dietitians and wanted to do some private practice nutrition counseling.

Moving back to Boston, we had one final semester of Nutrition Communications classes to complete.  During this final semester, we each worked as data collectors for the Shape Up Somerville: Eat Smart. Play Hard/Physical Education Program.  It was also during this final semester that we talked daily about our “dream job” – one that combined nutrition counseling, with writing, PR, and working with the food industry.   Our dream job seemed to be one that we would create ourselves – a prospect that seemed far-fetched for two fresh-out-of-grad-school RDs.  As we continued to look into ways to make this venture happen, we stumbled upon a great opportunity to rent office space within a wellness center in New York City and were on a bus to meet the owner of the space the next week.  Within two months, we had completed our programs at the Friedman School and started a private practice and nutrition communications company – C&J Nutrition.

What are you up to now?

We are the co-owners of C&J Nutrition – a private practice and nutrition communications company with a main office in NYC and additional offices in Washington DC and Los Angeles.  Our business consists of four segments: Private practice, nutrition communications/freelance writing, nutrition consulting, and workplace wellness.

In our private practice, we help an assortment of clients (from athletes to busy professionals to actors) meet weight and health goals.  We focus on practical changes, and can often be found cooking with clients and even grocery shopping with them.

In the communications/freelance arena of our business, we regularly work with magazines like SELF and SHAPE to provide nutrition content and meal plans as well as expert quotes.  We also work with book packagers to create nutrition plans for books with nutrition or diet focused components.

The consulting aspect of our business finds us working with a variety of food companies – we’re the nutritionists behind Bumble Bee Foods BeeWell for Life Bee Delicious program and nutritionists for Bob Greene’s Best Life program.  We create health-related web content for companies, translate current research into media-friendly messages, and work with PR companies to inject accurate and understandable health messages into media materials.

Our workplace wellness programs focus on creating work environments that encourage healthy eating as well as educating employees on how to make healthier choices at home.

Plans for the Future.

A book, a TV show, and continuing to build the C&J brand!  We’d love to create a show that showcases how we make eating more healthfully practical and fun – and we’ve got a few ideas up our sleeves. We’re also expanding our workplace wellness programs to Los Angeles and Washington DC and continuing to grow the consulting and communications aspects of our business.

Any advice you have for current Friedman students?

Get creative, think outside of the box, and be confident in your abilities and training. With the technology and social media that we have access to today, there are millions of ways to get information “out there” With the top notch tools you leave the Friedman School with the sky’s the limit for what you can do.

Would you mind giving a contact that students and alumni may reach you at?

Absolutely don’t mind at all! You can reach us via our website www.cjnutrition.com or by emailing Willow@cjnutrition.com and Stephanie@cjnutrition.com.

The Friedman Sprout is a monthly student run newspaper that aims to serve the student population at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, prospective students, and alumni. Our mission is to report on newsworthy information that affects the Friedman community including nutrition research, food policy, internship and volunteer opportunities, as well as school events. Our editorial slant is that of sustainability in food and nutrition.

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