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Nutrition Science Department

Discover Your Passion

Our exciting programs offer more than just the basics – we train highly competent registered dieticians and leaders in nutrition research that will change the diet and nutrition landscape. Let us show you how.

Nutrition Sciences Department

The Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University is paving the way for future researchers and registered dietitians. Our Bacehelors of Science, Masters and PhD programs prepare students to work in a variety of careers that span the gamut from community work and clinical practice to cutting edge research.

This is a particularly exciting time for nutritionists since so many individuals are taking responsibility for maintaining and enhancing their health. We are committed to the discovery of new information about the relationships between diet, physical activity, health and disease and the application of such knowledge to individuals, communities and entire populations.

In September 2011, the Department of Nutrition Sciences, Drexel Recreation Center and University Wellness collaboratively formed the Drexel Center for Integrated Nutrition & Performance (CINP), with the mission of providing evidence-based nutrition advice to the Drexel Community and the greater Philadelphia area. The Center offers year-long internships for selected undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Nutrition Sciences. This provides exceptional hands-on experience that prepares students for application to practice programs, employment opportunities and graduate programs.


The following programs are offered through the Department of Nutrition Sciences. Please contact us or plan to visit us if we can provide further information about opportunities in this important discipline that bridges the basic and applied sciences.

Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Foods
An important component of healthcare, dietetics involves helping people meet their nutritional needs through diet counseling and nutrition support.

Master of Science in Human Nutrition
If you have a desire to promote optimal wellness for people of all ages through better nutrition and become a registered dietitian, this may be of interest to you.

PhD in Nutrition Sciences
An innovative PhD program that positions graduates as unique PhD-educated nutritionists.

Minor in Nutrition and Foods

Human Lactation Consultant Program
The Drexel University Nutrition Sciences Human Lactation Consultant Program is designed to provide an opportunity for individuals to prepare to become Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs).

The Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP)
An ACEND approved program allowing students who have graduated from a DPD program to complete the 1,200 hours of supervised practice necessary to complete the path to registration.

Nutrition Sciences Faculty

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News & Events



Assistant Clinical Professor, Nyree Dardarian, presented two posters at the International Congress of Dietetics in Granada, Spain. They included:  Evaluation of a Workplace Wellness Benefit, Nora Rosenfeld, MS, RD, Olga Feldman, Alex Bell, Jamie Rinker and Professor Dardarian; and Comparing Resting Energy Expenditure of Healthy Young Adults Using Indirect Calorimetry and Published Predictive Equations, Professor Dardarian and Dr. Shortie McKinney.


Ann Y. Marsteller, MBA, MS, RDN, LDN, Director of the EAT.RIGHT.NOW. Program, will be retiring on September 30, 2016, after more than 13 years of service to Drexel and the Program. Marsteller has been an exemplary member of the Drexel community throughout her tenure, and the work that she has done, especially with the EAT.RIGHT.NOW Program (ERN) will benefit the Philadelphia community for many years to come.

Marsteller began working at Drexel in 2002, and was hired for the federally funded grant entitled “Nutrition Outreach in Philadelphia Public Schools,” originally housed in the Department of Biology. “I started working as a Program Manager, and was promoted to Program Director in 2004,” said Marsteller.

One of Marsteller’s many accomplishments of her time at Drexel was being the Director of the ERN Program, which is the official Pennsylvania Nutrition Education TRACKS Program of the School District of Philadelphia. ERN is funded by the Department of Human Services (DHS) through PA Nutrition Education TRACKS, a part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

ERN provides nutrition education programs and services (SNAP-Ed) to eligible adults and children in the Philadelphia community. “The goal of SNAP-Ed is to improve the likelihood that persons eligible for SNAP will make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate,” said Marsteller. “The SNAP-Ed Plan Guidance was amended in 2010 to include not only nutrition education but also obesity prevention.”

In 2002, the School District of Philadelphia Nutrition Education Program asked Drexel to partner with them to conduct nutrition education in schools with after-school programs. Drexel initially started programming in a handful of elementary schools, three middle school girls’ clubs, and a single nutrition and fitness lesson in 28 High Schools. “In 2005, the School District mandated that all schools have nutrition education, and several other community partners as well as Drexel became one under the School District of Philadelphia’s auspices,” said Marsteller. “At that time we agreed to take on programming in almost 70 schools, primarily high schools, which was a far cry from our humble beginning.”

With every year that passed, the program was presented with new challenges, however under Marsteller’s leadership, the program always remained robust. Marsteller explained that most of the challenges came from high school students, but ERN was able to develop lessons that were creative and engaged the students so that nutrition became fun as well as educational. “We recently completed a three-year evaluation of our high school curriculum, and it has shown to be an effective teaching tool that has demonstrated positive changes in eating behaviors,” said Marsteller. “It is now being requested to be used by SNAP-Ed programs all over the country.”

In addition to the ERN Program, Marsteller has also served as a mentor to many of Drexel’s undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Nutrition Sciences. As part of her mentorship with undergraduate students, Marsteller has served as a Senior Project Advisor for Nutrition Students for many years. For the past five years, Marsteller and the Drexel PA Tracks Team have served as part of the community rotation for Drexel University’s Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP), which trains future registered dietitians.

In addition to all of the accomplishments that have been achieved over the course of the Program’s history, ERN’s future remains bright. “We have mobilized our efforts within the community and have partnered with community health centers, recreations centers and Drexel’s Dornsife Center in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone, as this is an important Drexel initiative. We expect to increase the expansion of nutrition education, physical activity, cooking, and gardening as part of nutrition education and obesity prevention,” said Marsteller. “In this coming fiscal year, we will be providing services in Philadelphia to 80 schools and eight community sites.”

Thanks to the efforts of Marsteller and the ERN team, a system is slowly but surely being set into place to help combat the childhood obesity epidemic that is affecting the health of our youth. Even after Marsteller’s retirement, the ERN program will be a staple in the community as they prepare to promote a nutritious and healthy lifestyle for years to come.

Jacob Cushing ‘19


Since its 2013 launch, the Registered Dietitians at Drexel’s Dragon Nutrition have had more than 1,100 visits at Parkway Health & Wellness and the Drexel Athletic Center. Surveyed participants had rave reviews about their experiences and the perceived benefits of this welcomed addition of nutrition counseling services to the existing workplace wellness services at Drexel. Receiving high praise for the one-on-one expert advice from Registered Dietitians, personalized plans and accountability; and, the icing on the cake (pun intended), is that Dragon Nutrition is FREE!

“Every benefits-eligible Drexel employee can sign up for the program. You don’t have to be enrolled in a Drexel benefits plan to receive these benefits, you just have to be eligible,” explained Nyree Dardarian, MS, RD, assistant clinical professor and director for the Center for Nutrition & Performance. “Three 30-minute consultations are completely free.”

If weight loss isn’t your main focus, this benefit can still, well… benefit you. “We talk to people training for running events, people who have children with food allergies; we’ve had clients come in who just want to make sure they’re meeting all of their nutrient requirements,” said Dardarian. “It’s very diverse. We can of course also counsel on issues of nutrition for chronic diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease, but Dragon Nutrition is for overall healthiness, as well.”

Overall health was the motivation for Arun Ramakrishnan, PhD, Lab Research Engineer in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, to take advantage of Dragon Nutrition. “I was at the borderline between overweight and obese. My weight had been fluctuating, even though I am a regular at the gym. I realized it has more to do with my food intake, and started researching diet options. Some worked for a short while, some were counter-productive. I realized I needed a more personalized program.” After the three initial sessions, Ramakrishnan continued, working with Dragon Nutrition counselors for a year in preparation for his wedding. “I was ready to follow a healthier lifestyle.”

Not only did Ramakrishnan end the year 43 pounds lighter, he felt much more energetic and learned a lot about nutrition. “I started a regimented diet with a focus on satisfying all five food groups. I learned to avoid cravings and safely avoid foods that would be harmful to my goals. During appointments with my nutrition counselor, we modified my food plan to help maintain my progress and prevent relapse.”

Dardarian and her colleagues are confident that participants can make a real change in three 30-minute consultations. Dardarian illustrated a typical first appointment. She said, “We like to jump into the reasons for your visit. All of our Registered Dietitians want to understand your goals. Everyone leaves with a goal sheet and objectives to accomplish by the next session. Each is different and tailored individually around the client’s lifestyle. The personalization makes eating healthy easier!”

Stella Volpe, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences, commended Dardarian on her herculean effort with Dragon Nutrition. “Nyree has done fantastic things with the program, and we owe a huge thank you to University Wellness for helping to back the program,” she said. “The value of understanding what individually a person can do to improve his/her nutrition, prevent disease, improve quality of life or maintain a quality of life – whatever the goal  – meeting with a Registered Dietitian is a great thing to do to get started.”

Dardarian echoed this sentiment. “Making that first appointment is the first step in a commitment to either learning more or progressing to better nutrition habits.”

To take your first step in a commitment to better nutrition, make your appointment with Dragon Nutrition today. Call 215.553.7012 or email

By Margaret DeGennaro ‘12

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