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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



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


We’ve all heard some common advice before a big running event: carbo-load. Some track teams even host spaghetti dinners the night before important meets, part team-building, part nutritional jumpstart.

But what happens when the traditional advice, the spaghetti dinner, runs against a person’s dietary restrictions?

Due to celiac’s disease, wheat allergies or a number of other issues, many must cut gluten out of their diets.

However, that shouldn’t preclude anyone from their athletic pursuits, even in an activity like running where nutrition can play as significant a role as your running shoes.

Whitney Butler serves as a registered dietitian for Drexel’s Parkway Health and Wellness, as well as the official dietitian for Drexel Campus Dining. She’s hosting a webcast at noon June 24 to discuss “Facts for the Gluten-Free Runner.” In advance of that, she shared three of her top tips for those looking to pound the pavement but stay away from gluten.

  1. Eat Carbs!

    Gluten-free doesn’t mean carb free. Carbohydrates are vital to provide energy for fueling your muscles. Maintain a variety of gluten-free carbohydrate sources in your diet, such as rice, corn, potatoes, lentils, beans, quinoa, millet, gluten-free oats, and more.


  2. Back to Basics with a Balanced Diet

    As a culture, it’s becoming second nature to reach for the supplement cabinet. Your diet should still be balanced even when gluten-free. Fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy, fish, nuts, seeds and the carbohydrate sources above are all gluten-free. You can’t out supplement a bad diet. To quote Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 


  3. Practice at Practice

There are so many enticing new gluten-free products on the market today. It’s easy to want to try them all — and you should! Just introduce them at practice to be sure you can tolerate the sugar content, taste, texture, etc. instead of sampling new treats on race day.

Register here for Butler’s webcast. You might also be interested in Butler’s tips to being gluten-free while in college.

By Frank Otto, University Communications


  • Krista Rompolski, PhD, assistant teaching professor in the Health Sciences Department, was chosen to be a co-author on the next edition (and beyond) of Human Physiology by Dr. Stuart Fox for McGraw Hill Education.
  • The following students from the Nutrition Sciences Department have matched with the internship of their choice during the second round of the match.   Congratulations to all of our future dietetic interns!
    • Ann Mina Cha, Los Angeles Children’s Hospital
    • Megan Carrier, Sage Colleges
    • Amanda Sakr, Meredith College
    • Marisa Wagner, Priority Nutrition Care
  • The following abstracts from the EAT.RIGHT.NOW. team, whose work focuses on specific behavioral objectives that are intended to guide students and adults toward a healthier lifestyle by eating well and being physically active, will be presented at two different conferences by authors Judy Ensslin, Ann Marsteller, and Stella L. Volpe, PhD, chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences.  This week, they will be presenting at the Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network (PA NEN) conference, and in the summer they will present at the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) conference.
    • Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Drexel University Eat.Right.Now. HIgh School Curriculum in Pennsylvania Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education
    • Drexel University Eat.Right.Now. High School Curriculum for Pennsylvania SNAP-Ed Helps Philadelphia Students Eat Healthier
    • Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Drexel University Eat.Right.Now. High School Curriculum in Pennsylvania SNAP-Ed
  •  Each month, Philadelphia VIP recognizes a volunteer who goes above and beyond by answering the call to serve with Philadelphia VIP. This month, VIP proudly recognizes Margaret Denton, associate general counsel at Drexel University.
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