Candace Russo, Garden Manager

Candace Russo

Candace Russo, MS, is the Manager of the Healthy Youth Program. She has 20 years of experience in youth and family education and outreach, and has enjoyed gardening and healthy eating since she was a child. Candace started her work at the Healthy Youth Program in 2011 as the Garden Manager, sharing and exploring the process of “soil to seed to plate,” which highlights environment and lifestyle links between quality soils, nutrient-rich food, and healthy bodies.  As Program Manager, Candace is committed to developing the belief of the Healthy Youth Program’s founder, Simone Frei, that “it takes a village” to fight childhood obesity and raise a community of healthy, happy, and active children.  Candace strives to develop strength-based youth and family programs that support sustainable and long-term behavioral change, the foundation for the Healthy Youth Program’s core values. She also continues to manage the three school gardens, as well as contributing art and design work to the program.


Casey Bennett, Program and Internship Coordinator
Casey Bennett

Casey Bennett, MPH, is the Program and Internship Coordinator at the Healthy Youth Program. Her background is in food banking, developing programs to meet the food security needs of children and families. A passion for improving access to healthy, affordable food for low-income populations and supporting healthy and active lifestyles brought her to the Linus Pauling Institute. At the Healthy Youth Program, Casey coordinates OSU student interns and volunteers as well as supports the team in various capacities, from cafeteria research to program development, and helps with day-to-day, behind the scenes logistics so that all of our programs run smoothly.

Gerd Bobe, Faculty Advisor

Gerd Bobe

Gerd Bobe, PhD, MPH, and MS, is the Faculty Advisor of the Healthy Youth Program. He has more than 10 years of professional experience in public health nutrition, specifically dietary disease prevention. His passion is to “translate scientific knowledge into healthy choices” and support people to be successful and achieve their goals. He works with the staff of the Healthy Youth Program to evaluate family and youth programs to better serve our communities and families. He believes that empirical and evidence-based theoretical approaches ensures better formulation and evaluation of effective and efficient health programs to influence health behavior among individuals and populations as “better theories lead to better practices”.  Learn more about Gerd Bobe's research 

Julie Patterson Jacobs, Nutrition Educator 
julie patterson jacobs

Julie Patterson Jacobs, BA, is a Nutrition Educator for the Healthy Youth Program. She has a background in teaching and mentoring children of all ages. Her nutrition education, through the Cleveland Clinic, led her to become a nutrition coach, which she has been doing since 2011. She is eager to combine these various skills into a single position as a Nutrition Educator. She enjoys sharing the principles of healthy living with others through the practice of healthy eating and exercise. Julie loves to play sports, like soccer, and hiking with her husband and dog. She is also a certified Zumba instructor, which keeps her moving and grooving every day! As a Nutrition Educator for the Healthy Youth Program, Julie is involved in educating children and families about healthy living using the evidenced-based nutrition research from the Linus Pauling Institute. She leads cooking classes at the programs' various garden sites and in the schools during the school-year. She loves cooking with the wonderful kids and families of this great community.

Rebecca Fallihee, Garden Educator 
Rebecca Fallihee

Rebecca Fallihee, MS, is a Garden Educator at the Healthy Youth Program. She has experience and interests in teaching agricultural and food literacy, gardening, horticulture, and science. A passion for aligning awareness of food and agriculture with nutrition and healthy lifestyles brought her to the Linus Pauling institute.

At the Healthy Youth Program, Rebecca works with both teachers and students at the Spartan and Lincoln gardens, and is also involved with Chefs in the Garden and the Fresh Grown Cooking for Families program.


Anais Alexander, Nutrition Educator

Anais Alexander

Anais Alexander, BA, is a nutrition educator for the Healthy Youth Program. She brings with her 18 years of experience as an educator, working with children, parents and mentoring teachers. In her time working with families, she has learned that the two most essential building blocks for student success are a supportive family, community, and nutrition, and that healthy, active, and well-nourished children are more likely to thrive and are more motivated to learn. She is excited to work with the Healthy Youth Program and be able to help families gain knowledge and skills that will guide them toward healthier lifestyles through hands-on nutrition education. As a nutrition educator for the Healthy Youth Program, Anais will be involved facilitating cooking and nutrition classes and education with youth and families in the community.

Program Assistants:

Cassidy Radloff

Cassidy Radloff,

Garden and Nutrition Education Assistant 

Godfrey Yeung

Vlad Predovic,

Web Design & Development

Jane Kitts profile picture

Jane Kitts,

Nutrition Education Assistant

 Laura Galindo

Laura Galindo,

Bilingual Education Assistant


Joshua Knutz,

Outreach & Program Assistant


Sydney Henderson,

Garden Education Assistant