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Center for Nutrition and Performance

Drexel’s Center for Nutrition & Performance is a collaboration of Drexel Athletics and the Department of Nutrition Sciences. Our mission is to provide evidence-based nutritional advice to the entire Drexel community to optimize athletic performance, well-being, and overall health. At CNP, we believe the competitive edge is only a bite away.


Nyree Dardarian MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, FAND - Center for Nutrition & Performance, Director, Assistant Clinical Professor, Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway, Coordinator
Coco Ellis - MS Human Nutrition 2017
Ben Graff - MS Human Nutrition 2017
Ginger Lemon - PhD, Nutrition Sciences
Jessica Liu - MS Human Nutrition 2017
Danielle Talenti - MS Human Nutrition 2017
Leah Tsui - MS Human Nutrition 2017
Andrea Irvine MS, RD, LDN  - Sports Dietitian, Athletics Department
Rachel Lee - BS Nutrition and Foods 2017
Molly Andersen - BS Nutrition and Foods 2017
Gabriella Balla - BS Nutrition and Foods 2017
Ridhima Phukan

Past Members


Kellsey O’Donnell
Joe Stanzione
Nicole Stein
Dan Yohe
Maggie Buell
Rachel Lee
Erin Sheridan

Hiral Pael
Margaret Buell
Elena Leva
Victoria Smith
Ashley Bannister
Deorah Bateman
Marlee Finkelstein
Rachel Driscoll
Chelsea Hoover
Stephanie Talerico
Madeline Graham
Erin Sheridan
Alison Smith
Huijing Yang
Keren Kapoano
Nora Rosenfeld
Kamram Ahmad
Elena Itzkowitz
Sarah Wysocki
Lorren Lutz
Jie Zhou
Alicia Lamaroux
Yajie Zhang
Beth Cecarelli
Suzanne Watkins
Erica Hirsch
Sarah Novelly
Andrea Grasso
Rhianna Cenci
Courtney Plush
Amy Von Sydow Green
Mary Beth Geyer
Kristen Kochenour
Molly Biehl
Abigail Duffine Gilman
Mary Beth Geyer
Kianna Richardson
Rhianna Cenci

The internship is a three quarter commitment for selected students. Each intern is required to uphold the mission of the Center and fulfill the requirements of the job description. The internship will provide a unique interdisciplinary experience for each student. Internship applications will be accepted in March for the upcoming year. New interns will start the internship in the spring term to shadow and train with current interns. The official internship will include fall, winter and spring term of the following academic year. Undergraduate interns are required to register for 1 research credit each term of enrollment.

Roles and Responsibilities

Responsibilities may include research and data collection, preparation and delivery of nutrition group presentations, literature reviews, creating nutrition fact sheets, website development and maintenance, bulletin board development, working with athletic teams, and management of athlete lounge.
Undergraduate interns will be required to develop and submit an educational plan for approval, which will be evaluated and updated in conjunction with the faculty advisor each term.  At the completion of each term, the faculty advisor will complete an internship evaluation.

6-week Introduction to Sports Nutrition Seminar Series
This 6-week interactive series is an overview of key performance related nutrition topics developed for NCAA teams.  Each session approximately 15 minutes to fit into your teams schedule. Coaches are encouraged to schedule all six sessions during pre-season.
Topics include:

  • Sport Specific Nutrition Tips
  • Pre/Post-Workout Nutrition
  • Eating on the Road
  • Dietary Supplements

To schedule the series please email Andrea Irvine, MS, RD, LDN

Dragon Gels
A sports supplement developed for  intra-workout fueling gel containing ~38 grams of carbohydrates per serving, to quickly replenish glycogen stores during competition. Dragon Gels are made in-house by the CNP team. To order Dragon Gels for your team please contact Andrea Irvine, MS, RD, LDN
Game Day Meal Plans
Provide teams with a customized 24-48 hour meal plans with fueling guidelines for home and away competition. Assist athletes in choosing the best options when eating on the road.
Onsite Nutrition Support
Offer onsite assistance for athletes to make appropriate nutrition choices prior to, in between, and after competition. The CNP team collaborates with coaching staff to determine specific nutritional needs and can prepare fueling options as necessary.
Specialty Programming
Presentations on various nutrition-related topics can be developed by the CNP team and delivered to all groups within the Drexel community. Previous presentations have included the following topics:
-Eating for Energy Balance: Female Athlete Triad
-Guided Grocery Shopping Tour
-Nutrition and Stress
Athlete Specific Grocery Tours
Offer athlete-focused supermarket tours on how to provide optimal nutritional support for NCAA Division I athletes. Strategies to combat nutritional deficits and common problems facing athletes during training and competitions are covered. Tours are approximately 45 minutes in length and can be scheduled by emailing

Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, Bethlehem Steele, YSC Academy
Contracted to provide ongoing performance nutrition strategies for the team.

Philadelphia Flyers, National Hockey League and Lehigh Phantoms
Contracted to provide ongoing performance nutrition strategies for the team.

World University Games – Korea 2015 & Taiwan 2017
The World University Games is an international multi-sport event, organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation. The partnership between Drexel and the World University Games began in 2015 with the Summer Universiade in Gwanju City, South Korea; CNP Interns traveled to Korea and offered nutrition guidance to the athletes. The 2017 Summer Universiade will be hosted in Taipei, Taiwan. Through this partnership, CNP Interns have an opportunity to implement their classroom knowledge in a real-world setting.
CNP Interns offer nutrition support and guidance to World University Games’ athletes by:

  • Creating educational resources on sports nutrition guidelines for international travel and dietary customs of host country
  • Providing onsite nutrition advice, including navigating the dining hall and pre-/post-event nutrition, in the Athlete’s Village during throughout the competition

Union League of Philadelphia
Offer onsite nutrition counseling for Union League staff.

Merion Cricket Club
Conducted recipe analysis and developed nutrition facts labels for healthy menu initiative.

Community Nutrition Presentations and Tabling Events < p/> Provide Drexel organizations and members of the Philadelphia community with nutrition tips, including healthy urban eating, nutrition & stress, and nutrition for exercise & sport. Past events have included:
Philadelphia Annual Veterans Resource Fair

  • Drexel University Benefits Fair
  • Science Night at the Ballpark
  • Drexel University Wellness on Wheels

CNP Director, Nyree Dardarian, first developed the concept of the Dragon Gel while counseling athletes on the Drexel Men’s Soccer team. After learning that members of the team were in need of a halftime fuel source, Dardarian set out to find something that contained enough carbohydrate to replenish what players had used, so they could continue to perform for the duration of the game. What she discovered was the products currently on the market left a lot to be desired. Working with a group of CNP Interns and the Food Science Department, Dardarian began the process of developing a halftime fuel source that would provide sufficient carbohydrate while still being palatable. The final result was the Dragon Gel.

A Dragon Gel is a 1.5 ounce gummy-like product packed with ~38 grams of carbohydrate that has a delicious blue-raspberry flavor. Dragon Gels are produced by members of CNP in the Metabolic Lab Kitchen at Drexel’s Three Parkway Building.

The Dragon Gel replenishes muscle glycogen stores that are depleted during competition. It contains ~38 grams of carbohydrate (fructose and dextrose), the body’s preferred fuel source, and only 1 gram of protein, so it provides an athlete with energy that won’t leave them feeling weighed down or sluggish.

How to Order
Drexel Athletics Staff Members can access the Dragon Gel order form via the Athletics Sharepoint website.

Learn More
If you are interested in learning more about how Dragon Gels can help take your team’s athletic performance to the next level, please contact Andrea Irvine, MS, RD, LDN