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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.

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

View Profiles

News & Events

 

05/10/16

  • 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.
 

05/10/16

The upcoming Sports Nutrition and Exercise Science Summit (SNESS) at Drexel University boasts an all-star lineup of nationally-renowned and accomplished speakers in the fields of nutrition, strength and conditioning and fitness, including one who is in the midst of a pretty remarkable year.

Shawn Hueglin, PhD, is a senior sport dietitian with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). Based in California, Hueglin is working diligently to fuel several teams on the road to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Whether it’s men’s volley ball, women’s volley ball, men’s water polo, women’s water polo or women’s rugby, Hueglin is behind-the-scenes supporting Team USA’s athletes year-round, from training facilities in the Los Angeles, to various international competitions, right up to the culmination of all of their sweat, training and hard work – the Olympics. 

How did Hueglin transition from a career in academia as an assistant professor of kinesiology at California State University, Long Beach, to working with America’s most elite athletes? She credits a network she cultivated while earning her PhD to opening up the door to this once in a lifetime opportunity. 

“I didn’t get into nutrition until I was getting my PhD. At that time, I had the opportunity to work with Olympic-level athletes during the Salt Lake City Winter Games and to interact with individuals who supported those athletes,” she said. Yes, Hueglin has supported athletes competing in Olympic games before, both in Salt Lake City and London, as well as two Pan American Games. “That exposure and my athletic background in soccer, running and triathlons really solidified my interest in the sport aspect of nutrition, which had always been most intriguing to me. Even as I went through my clinical rotations, I knew the end product of what I eventually wanted to be involved in was going to be sports. There are times when you stop and think ‘What do I love most about my day?’ I realized that for me, it was the interactions with athletes and coaches.” 

Her experience in Salt Lake City helped her gain contacts at the Olympic-level, one of whom reached out to let her know a position was opening up at Chula Vista Training Center. “After being in academia for four to five years, I thought ‘Sure! Let’s try something different and get more into the applied world.’ It’s been fantastic ever since,” Hueglin said. “It’s just a fun job to go to every day.”

And each day is different. As I talk to Hueglin, she is at the men’s water polo training facility, making a homemade sports drink for the team and working hand-in-hand with the athletic trainer. “While I’m here, I’ll probably assess body composition and meet with a few athletes in between their sessions. Then I’ll go over to the volley ball training facility, which is about 10 miles away,” Hueglin noted that a typical day involves visits to one or two different facilities. Right now, a majority of athletes are returning from Europe, where they spend the winter season under professional contracts. “In the next week or two we’ll have close to 60 or 70 athletes back for full time training. To prepare, we’ve been ordering a ton of products, working on our training tables and recovery nutrition smoothies as well as training staff who will help throughout summer. This afternoon we’ll probably have a meeting about Rio preparation.”

Gearing up for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio is another big part of Hueglin’s job right now. “We’re in the middle of having a lot of meetings, calls and discussions with individual sports teams as well as USOC.” Each year as the event draws nearer, preparations increase working toward the Olympic year. And now, with the event only months away, getting good habits in place that the athletes can continue following in Rio is a focus. 

“We want to make sure everyone has good hydration habits, great fueling and recovery habits as well as sleep habits – everything that they need to maintain through the Games that they can do anywhere, whether they’re traveling in Japan, in Europe or in Rio. Sometimes the hardest thing is sticking to what you know,” she said. 

Hueglin’s profession is certainly unique to most sports dietitians, but not for the reasons you’d think. One aspect worth noting is the diversity within a team.  One team can have a member as young as 16-years-old and another in their early 30s. “Those individuals have different needs, experiences and histories. They have different tolerances; they adapt differently,” Hueglin said. “You might see this situation in pro sports, but you wouldn’t see that in a college team. As a dietitian working with one group all training together, the age difference calls for different strategies.”

But the USOC is uniquely equipped to effectively manage that challenge. Another unique aspect, according to Hueglin, is that she is a part of a team herself. The nutrition team consists of five full-time dietitians at different training centers. “There aren’t too many other locations that I know of that you have full time RDs all at a pretty senior level working together as a team. We collaborate together, bounce ideas off each other, brainstorm together - we’re working as a team to support each other without one person directing us.”

Those attending SNESS from May 16-17, 2016 will get a sneak peak of what is under the hood of one of the most prestigious sports performance programs in Hueglin’s presentation “Fueling Team USA: From Practice to Podium”. Hueglin hopes to paint an inside picture for attendees of the daily preparation of these athletes, and get everyone excited for Rio. Professionally, though, she hopes others learn from her experience that conversations can lead to jobs like hers. “You never know when you’re interacting with someone that might later open doors for you. Everyone you meet is a potential boss, especially in the small world of sports nutrition.”

Space is limited at the Sports Nutrition and Exercise Science summit. Register online to reserve your seat.

By Margaret DeGennaro ’12

 

04/18/16

I am willing to bet we have all been there before. We started our day off with good intentions and a healthy meal, only to welcome about 100 distractions and items on our to-do lists. Before you know it, six or seven hours have gone by and we have worked right through the second meal of the day. 

Unprepared for a quick, but satisfying snack or meal, and unwilling to take a break in a streak of productivity, the feeling of irritability kicks in; a feeling that has become known as “hangry”. Quite simply put, you are so hungry that you have become angry. 

But is it really connected to your appetite, or is it just an excuse for your bad attitude? 

According to Stella Volpe, PhD, RD, Chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences, your mood is correlated to what and when you are eating. “If someone really has not eaten it can cause their blood glucose (sugar) to go down to the lower end of normal or even below normal. People get irritated because their bodies do not have enough glucose in their blood to get to their brain or central nervous system, and other cells that need it at the time.”

It is important to note that there is a significant distinction between true, physiological hunger and the feeling of hunger that comes from external cues making us believe we are hungry.  The “hangry” feeling can only be a product of the former, true hunger.

Volpe continued, “Your brain and central nervous system need glucose for energy. Likely, if your brain is not getting the energy it needs, your mood will be affected.”

To fend off the feeling, eat three meals a day with three small snacks, or six small meals throughout the day (though it can vary from person to person).  “If someone suffers from hypoglycemia, that is, if his/her blood sugar drops dramatically when they do not eat, the smaller, more frequent meals help them maintain blood sugar concentrations. The same is true for people with diabetes mellitus. They really need to eat regularly to try to maintain steady blood glucose concentrations throughout the day.” To sum it up, Volpe said, “The point is to eat regularly, whether that is every four hours or every three hours, even when you are trying to lose weight. Try not to skip meals.”

If your planning failed, and you feel the (bad) mood striking, the right quick fixes can get your blood sugar concentrations back up to normal. Volpe recommended steering clear of anything with such a high glycemic index that it could cause a rise and a potential drop in blood glucose concentrations, called “rebound hypoglycemia”. “An easy snack like a soft pretzel; grapes and cheese with crackers; peanut butter crackers; hummus and pita bread; or yogurt and some fruit would help get the glucose concentrations back to an appropriate concentration.”

Another tip to keep your food-related mood in check throughout the day, inspired by European and South American Culture where this reaction seems fewer and farther between: take a break when you are eating to allow your brain to register that you have consumed a meal, which Volpe confirmed does, in fact, take 20 minutes. “In other cultures, they really value sitting and eating meals together,” she said. “Even if you are at your desk or computer eating lunch, turn away from your work for five to 10 minutes. Do not rush eating your meal.”
 
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