Jackie Pullen

  • April 2022

Nutrition Educator
Extension Service Office of Nutrition Education
Attala County

Years in Position: 30 years
Years at MSU: 30 years

Thirty years ago, Jackie Pullen was a stay-at-home mother of three young children. Her youngest child was about to start school, and she was looking for a part-time job. 

Then, one day, she heard an advertisement on the radio for a position with the Extension Service. 

“I filled out an application, did the interview, and the rest is history,” she said. 

Along the way, her part-time position turned into a full-time position with the Extension Service Office of Nutrition Education.

As a nutrition educator, she has been helping Mississippians learn how to lead healthier lives ever since. Her outreach to the community teaches participants how to improve their diets, stretch their food dollars, handle food safely, and increase their physical activity levels.

“I love working with both youth and adults,” she explained. “There is so much reward in helping people realize they can do better -- that they can play a large part in their own health and well-being just through diet and physical activity.”

Pullen helps her clients understand that those changes don’t have to be complicated. 

“I like to show people how a few easy changes to their physical activity and some simple changes to the foods they eat and the way they prepare them can make a big difference,” she said.

Over the years, Pullen said she has many, many memories that rank among her favorites. 

“One of the best would have to be listening to a kindergartener explain how to milk a cow,” she said.

In addition to the enjoyment Pullen gets from helping people help themselves, she also has found a family in the Extension Service. 

“I have made some of my best friends doing this job,” she said. “People who have been with me through some of my darkest days and stood with me through the tragedies as well as the good times of my life.”

Her entire career has been a joy, not a job. 

“This career is all about people,” she said. “That’s what Extension is -- helping others learn to help themselves, to use the resources they have to make their lives better.

“Knowledge, of course, is a requirement. You have to know what you are talking about, but just as important is empathy and the genuine love for your fellow man. If you don’t care about people, then Extension is not for you. It’s all about the people you work with.”

Pullen has been married to “the love of her life” for 45 years. They have three children and three grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves collecting primitive antiques, decorating her home, and working in her yard. 

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