Jane Sherman Johnsen

Honored by:Peter Johnsen
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Jane Sherman Johnsen graduated from ISU in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in Institution Management - Hotel and Restaurant Management, also completing an internship and all of the coursework to become a Registered Dietitian. 

After graduation, she worked as an Assistant Food Production Manager for Marriott Lincolnshire Resort. She helped open a brand new Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1981, she moved to Minnesota to be near her boyfriend, who is now her husband. From 1981 through 1983, she worked as an Assistant Manager for the Good Earth Restaurants in the Twin Cities for a couple of years.

In 1984, Jane and Peter had their first child, so she took a short time off from her career. When she went back to work, it was in the Test Kitchen at the Country Kitchen Corporate Office. She developed new recipes, tested products, and helped with photo shoots and even a TV commercial. She took some time off when they had their second child in 1987.

Beginning in 1988, Jane worked in Auxiliary Services at the University of St. Thomas. She created menus for a Special Olympics Summer Program, assisted the Vice President with creating budgets, designing the new office space, ordering and installing a new computer system to manage student meal plans and access to the dormitories. She counseled students, staff, and faculty on their nutrition and dietary needs. She wrote short articles for the university newspaper on nutrition. She created a new position for herself as Coordinator of Auxiliary Services. In total, she worked at University of St. Thomas for 5 years.

In 1993, Jane was placed on bedrest with her third child, with preterm labor at 30 weeks. She had been busy working much more than full time, however her doctor said she had to give her notice and focus of helping the baby stay put until he was full term. He was born a couple of weeks before his due date, but was completely healthy. 

A couple years after her third child was born, Jane received a call from the Food Service Director at the local school district. She needed a Consultant Dietitian to work on building the nutrient data base from scratch. Jane did this. She wrote new school lunch menus to meet the newest nutrition requirements, tested new products and trained each school's kitchen manager how to operate the new software that had been installed district wide. At that time, there were 20 schools in the district. For a few months, Jane did consulting work for a second school district. Her job was to train one of the employees on how to enter the nutrient information into the computer. She also worked with the kitchen managers to train them on the software.

Jane was injured in a mugging in 1996 and had to temporarily discontinue working in 1997. She worked on a lot of physical therapy and had gotten somewhat better, so felt she could apply for a new position with the University of Minnesota.

She worked as a Database Nutritionist for the Nutrition Coordinating Center at the University of Minnesota. She was responsible for entering the nutrient data for items in the 10,000 food database. She learned to do detailed calculations of the individual nutrients in a particular food, such as alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E), and communicated any issues with the software to the Computer Programmers who worked in the department. 

In 2001, Jane had the first of four back surgeries to attempt to repair her sacroiliac joints, which were damaged in the mugging. It failed. At this point, she was in excruciating pain all day, every day, so she felt she must resign from her position at the Nutrition Coordinating Center. The second surgery, done in 2002, failed as well. Finally, she was sent to the Chair of Orthopedics at the University of Minnesota - Fairview Medical Center. In 2003, he was able to fuse the right sacroiliac joint successfully. He thought he had done all he could, but a short time later she returned to explained to him that the pain on her left side was also unbearable. He then fused her left sacroiliac joint in 2004. She still lives with pain every day, but it is not as bad as it was. Each of these four surgeries required 3 months of bedrest, and years of physical therapy to get to the point where she could walk with just a cane and take care of herself on a daily basis.

Over the past 12 years, Jane have assisted her aging parents with their medical care. She feels that the training she received to become a Registered Dietitian have given her a deeper understanding of medical issues and treatments. She is able to read and comprehend medical journal articles. In 2007, at age 82, her father was diagnosed with severe Chronic Renal Failure, and she took him to a nephrologist at Mayo Clinic. The doctor was preparing him for the probability of having to start kidney dialysis soon. She asked if they could meet with a renal dietitian. They did, and the dietitian was extremely helpful. She gave him a detailed explanation and documentation of a very restrictive renal diet. He has followed that very closely and his kidneys have improved. He has not had to have dialysis. His Mayo Clinic nephrologist was extremely impressed at the improvement in her father's health. He is now 88 years old, and going strong. He still works as a Patent Attorney, rides a recumbent trike, walks, climbs stairs, and is self-sufficient in his daily care.

Jane provided this level of detail about her life because she felt it might be helpful to future graduates to see how many different environments one can work in with a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management and Dietetics. She says that the Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian credentials helped her get all of these jobs throughout her career.


Family - 

Peter and Jane have been married 30 years this month. Their daughter, Ingrid, is an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska. She and her husband, Tony, have been married 3 years. Peter and Jane’s son, Eric, is studying Computer Science at Lake Superior College in Duluth, MN. He and his wife, Theresa, will have been married one year in November. Peter and Jane’s youngest, Curtis, is studying Computer Science at the University of Minnesota - Duluth campus. Peter is a Software Engineer at Cray, Inc. He started working with Cray Research in 1981, then worked for several years with Silicon Graphics (when they purchased Cray Research), and now works for Cray, Inc. Peter graduated from ISU in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology. He now works with National Weather Services around the world who may be interested in acquiring a Cray Computer. He works strictly on the technical side. The potential clients appreciate his knowledge of weather. He has recently been working on a collaborative research project related to Hurricane Sandy and efforts to make forecasting hurricanes more accurate.