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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



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.”


Florence Gelo, DMIN, associate professor in the College of Medicine, and Girija Kaimal, EdD ’01, an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, recently received a $25,000 grant from the Foundation for Spirituality and Medicine to conduct research on arts based approaches to palliative care. 

Satwika Rahapsari, a graduate student from Indonesia who is currently studying in the Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling M.A. Program on a student Fulbright Foundation grant, recently presented her research on "Finding the Self in Bedhaya Dance: Jungian Depth Psychology Analysis of the Javenese Sacred Dance" at the 18th Annual Southeast Asia Graduate Student Conference at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y

Maureen Vita, MA ‘09, art therapist for Drexel Cancer Care and a supervisor for interns in the MA in Art Therapy & Counseling program, recently received the 2015 Outstanding Supervisor Award from the Delaware Valley Art Therapy Association. The award honors an association member who has demonstrated outstanding mentorship, encouragement of professional development and leadership in the field.

• Three associates in the Physician Assistant Program were published in the Journal of the American Association of Physician Assistants (JAAPA), including two Program alumni.

o Post-ICU Syndrome: Rescuing the Undiagnosed, an article co-authored by Elizabeth A. Myers, PA ‘15, was published. It was written with help from her co- authors as while Myers was a student as part of her graduate project.

o A Rare Cause of Acute Abdominal Pain, an article co-authored by alumna, Abigail Gonnella,PA ‘14 was published. Gonnella also wrote a case for the Journal’s“ADifficult Diagnosis” section.

o Efficient Evidence: Strategies for Accessing and Using Medical Evidence Efficiently, an article co-authored by Gary Childs ‘01, Drexel librarian, and Adrian Banning, assistant clinical professor in the Physician Assistant Department, was also published.

The Division of CNE received the maximum four years ANCC-COA Reaccreditation

Samira Islam, a graduating student in the Master of Health Administration program, was just accepted as an Administrative Fellow at Geisinger Health System. This is a two-year fellowship and only three are selected per year in the health system.

The following Nutrition Sciences students matched with a Dietetic Internship of their choice during the first round of the match.  82% of them matched with their first choice internship. Congratulations!

Danielle Aran, Oregon State University
Ashley Bannister, Medical University of South Carolina
Debra Bateman, Inspira Health Network
Abby Brooks, Duke University Hospital
Maggie Buell, University of Alabama, Montgomery
Erin Sheridan, Sodexo Allentown
Samantha Diamond, Virginia Commonwealth University
Zainub Halawani, Inspira Health Network
Brianna Higgins, Sodexo Philadelphia, pediatric emphasis
Elizabeth Keegan, Florida Department of Agriculture, Tallahassee
Heather Krick, Sodexo Philadelphia
Elizabeth McManus, Minneapolis VA
Sarah Mencia, University of California at San Francisco
Samantha Mogil, Yale New Haven Hospital
Kellsey Odonnell, Ohio State University
Laila Ouldibbat, Sodexo New York, pediatric emphasis
Harley Rogers, Napa State Hospital
Leslee Sholomskas, Yale New Haven Hospital
Joe Stanzione, Sodexo New York
Nicole Stein, Virginia Commonwealth University
Kim Thoman, Sodexo Allentown
Emily Werner, University of Michigan, School of Public Health


Vicki Schwartz, DCN, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, was recently inducted as a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (FAND). This accomplishment recognizes Academy members who have distinguished themselves among their colleagues, as well as in their communities, by their service to the dietetics profession and by optimizing the nation’s health through food and nutrition.

To achieve Fellow status, applicants must accumulate 100 points in a variety of areas, including research, service and education – something that Schwartz notes takes quite a few years to accomplish. “Once you do accumulate 100 points, you get a good appreciation of what you have accomplished in your career,” said Schwartz.

Schwartz joined Drexel as a faculty member in 2004. She has over 35 years of experience as a registered dietitian working in areas of gastroenterology, cardiac, diabetes, oncology, bone marrow transplantation and nutrition support. She has been certified as a nutrition support clinician for the past 30 years. Her research has included both “Documentation of Nutrition Misinformation on the Internet” and the “Use of Standardized Patients as an Experiential Teaching Strategy in Nutrition Counseling Courses”. 

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