Taskforce to re-envision College of Human Ecology undergraduate leadership program (current)
Family and Community Food Decision-making Program Work Team, chair (2006-present)
Extension Leader, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University (2007-2010).
Statewide Program Committee on Health, Nutrition and Food Systems, Chair (1997-2006)
Division of Nutritional Sciences Research Committee (multiple terms)
College of Human Ecology Research Committee (multiple terms)
Food, Diet and Health Statewide Program Committee, Chair (1993-97)
Extension Leader, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University (1987-1989)
Chair, CHE taskforce to re-imagine undergraduate leadership program
Fellow, Leadership Institute of the Kappa Omicron Nu honorary Society
Society for Nutrition Education
Family and Community Food Decision-making Program leadership
American Society for Nutritional Sciences
American Dietetics Association
Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society
American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
Kappa Omicron Nu
American Association of University Women
Women, Food, and Agriculture Network
Gillespie achieves her mission of creating learning environments to develop human potential and build family and community capacity for fostering health and well-being through the integration of research, education, and extension/outreach. The long-term goal of these scholarly activities is to build family and community capacity for nourishing and nurturing children She pursues three overlapping and mutually supportive areas of extension/outreach: food decision-making with an ecosystems perspective, collaborative leadership development, and developing Collaborative Engaged Research (CER) methodology with community-based CCE colleagues.
Gillespie seeks to understand and strengthen the connections among sustainable food systems, food decision-making, and health and well-being through presentations and publications to scholars interested in integrating extension/outreach activities with useful research. She was co-editor of the special issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine on Decision-making in Eating Behavior - one outcome of the national NIH conference which she co-chaired. She presented one of four emperical papers for the invitational workshop on social science and obesity for the National Institute for Child Health and Development, NIH, and the national meeting of researchers and extension faculty at the 1890 colleges. She consults with cooperative extension and other community-based group in planning and evaluating family food decision-making programs. One such project is a family cooking workshop series, Cooking Together for Family Meals, which engages families in rethinking their eating practices and food choices as they develop their family's human, social, and cultural capital for improving their food decision-making system. This program is one application of the family food decision-making system research on understanding the impetuses to rethinking eating practices and food choices, i.e. engaging in a thought decision-making pathway and the transition in this pathway from behavioral intention to implementation.
Through leadership development projects, Gillespie connects community-based educators, leaders, and decision-makers and food system stakeholders with researchers and students (graduate and undergraduate students) for mutual learning and knowledge creation. This network for co-learning and co-creating includes Food Decision-making Learning Groups on campus, in communities, and among scholars around the world. These projects apply local knowledge and research findings to identify and implement effective locally-driven change strategies. She is collaborating with Cornell Cooperative Extension leaders in Building Leadership Capacity for Community Food System Colaborations, with CCE directors and nutrition program leaders in Greene, Onondaga, Tompkins, and Wayne Counties. Gillespie’s vision is community stakeholders engaged with each other and with external resources working toward an equitable, just, and healthy food system which contributes to the health and well-being of all community members. Besides CCE, she supports projects with other community-based organizations and initiatives including the Center for Local Food and Farming, Harrisdale Homestead, Cass County Cultivators, and New York Coalition for Healthy School Food.
Through her scholarly work and national leadership, Gillespie is contributing to the shifting the paradigm for community intervention toward more engagement of families and community leaders, i.e. those whom we would change, in the change process and balancing their goals with those of interveners and researchers.