Since 1980, the Distinguished Alumni Award has recognized a graduate of Family and Consumer Sciences who has made lifelong contributions that reflect the beliefs and values of the College.

Dr. Joan Fischer

Dr. Joan Fischer

Dr. Joan Fischer balances several responsibilities in her role as professor in the department of foods and nutrition, including serving as director of the nationally accredited program in dietetics.

Dr. Fischer, who graduated from FACS in 1992 with a Ph.D. in foods and nutrition, personally works with students, helping them get placed into the dietetic internship that is right for them. 

Each graduating class brings about numerous recommendation letters, and Dr. Fischer personalizes each and every one. 

“Students, as well as faculty, know that she is the ‘go to’ person for advising issues and challenges,” said Dr. Barbara Grossman, director of the department’s dietetic internship program. “She is uniformly regarded as knowledgeable, helpful and efficient.” 

Even while working so closely with students, Dr. Fischer still finds time to excel in her research. 

One of her areas of focus is investigating bioactive food components and how they can alter cell growth and function to reduce risk factors associated with chronic diseases. 

Another has been the development and evaluation of community-based nutrition and health intervention programs for aged individuals and groups. 

She has received national recognition from her findings in many ways, from having one of her papers selected as a “Hot Paper” of the year by the American Chemical Society to presenting her findings at various meetings, workshops and panels.

She also has been active in professional associations including serving 10 years on the Georgia Board of Examiners for Licensed Dietitians and serving as chair of the national Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Research Committee.

Dr. Fischer also is a highly regarded professor. She has revised course content and teaching strategies within FDN in an effort to improve student experiences. 

“Dr. Fischer’s dedication to course development coupled with highly effective teaching skills has been instrumental in the academic and subsequent professional success of the students who have taken her courses,” said Dr. Lynn Bailey, head of the department of foods and nutrition. “It is evident that Dr. Fischer gives her all in every aspect of her life. She exemplifies the passion and dedication that FACS instills in all of its students.”

“Joan excels in research, teaching, and service with integrity and innovation,” Grossman added. “She cares deeply not only about students, but also about the reputation of our department, her program and FACS.”

has had four articles published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

Monroe has filled the role of leader in nearly all facets of her career, serving as president-elect of the National Council of Family Relations and later being named a Fellow of the National Council on Family Relations in 2008.

She also has been involved with the Child Poverty Prevention Council and the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University.

Monroe’s accomplishments can hardly be summarized. However, the work she says she’s most proud of is her role as a wife and mother of three children.