Lester and Venesa Strong

Venesa Strong (right) and her husband Lester.

Lester and Venesa Strong, RDN, were married for more than forty years.  When Vanessa passed away in 2016 after a long struggle with dementia, he knew the best way to honor her memory and love of nutrition and dietetics was to establish a scholarship in her name through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation.

In 2017, Academy student member, Lisa Francis Keovongsa received the first Venesa W. Strong Memorial Scholarship, which provides financial support to a dietetic intern as he/she completes their supervised practice experience. As many students already carry debt from their undergraduate coursework, this scholarship provides truly invaluable support to help ease the financial burden of becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

Venesa was a fifty-year member of the Academy and is remembered for her love of people, her profession, her education and her family. After earning her RD credentials in June of 1965, Venesa’s first job as a nutrition professional was at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX, running the food service department. She was encouraged to advance her knowledge and went on to earn her Master’s in Nutritional Science from Cornell University in Ithaca. Following her advanced training, Venesa went on to share her gifts in a variety of settings, spending time working for the Rochester New York Visiting Nurse Service, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA, and consulting with various institutions. She was further inspired to earn her Executive Masters in Business Administration from UCLA in 1996. In her personal life, Venesa was an accomplished tennis player, devoted coach to her two sons, an adventurous traveler (visiting Third World countries and beyond), and a great lover of books.

Lisa and Lester

Lisa and Lester meet for the first time in Chicago during FNCE 2017.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation appreciates Les Strong’s generous support by establishing this scholarship in Venesa’s memory, helping Academy members achieve their goals, making an impact on our profession and leaving a lasting legacy for his loving wife.

Watch Lester and Venesa’s story.

Scholarship Recipient Lisa Francis Keovongsa

“I am humbled to receive this scholarship in honor of Venesa W. Strong. She has left behind a legacy of leadership, compassion, and improving people’s lives through nutrition. I hope to carry on this legacy by dedicating myself to lifelong service as an RDN in the behavioral health and nutrition fields. By gaining higher education in either clinical psychology or psychiatry, I hope to become a leader in bridging the gap between the two disciplines.”