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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 Bachelor of Science, master's 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 Nutrition & Performance (CNP), 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.

Center for Nutrition & Performance (CNP)
Drexel's Center for Nutrition & Performance provides students a hands-on learning experience through the development and implementation of nutrition education programs for members of the Drexel community.


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.





Nutrition Sciences Faculty

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News & Events



Stack of graduation programs for Drexel UniversityThe weeks leading up to the Drexel’s 134th Commencement were full of celebrations. Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral candidates from across the College of Nursing and Health Professions attended a host of CNHP and Drexel University events to recognize their accomplishments. Our nursing co-op students held their pinning ceremony, the Nutrition Sciences Department, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Graduate Nursing hosted celebrations, the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows met virtually to recognize those who completed the year-long program and the Creative Arts Therapies held their day-long Colloquia where student presented of their work.

Graduates wearing Drexel University caps and gowns at the College of Nursing and Health Professions graduation ceremonyOn the morning of June 9 at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts and with a focus on equity and purpose, Dean Laura Gitlin, PhD, welcomed graduating students, faculty, families, friends and guests to the first in-person graduation since 2019 saying, “We have all chosen lives that are, and will continue to be, motivated by an innate desire to make life better–to heal, a responsibility to serve and an obligation to advocate for those whose voices are not always heard or who do not receive equitable access to care throughout their life course.”

Gitlin asked for graduates to see their callings as a continuation or the College’s core values. “You have the obligation, opportunity and privilege to change the lives of individuals as well as systems of care—to develop new strategies, practices and policies in your respective fields and to address health inequities,” she asserted. She encouraged them to strive to provide person-centric care and to address what matters most to those for whom they care.

Zainab During, a master’s nursing student in Quality, Safety and Risk Management and a member of the Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, gave the student address. Born and raised in Sierra Leone, During used her own experience of civil war in her country to demonstrate what ambition and purpose will help one accomplish. “It is with that same mindset that I was able to thrive when I immigrated to the United States 13 years ago, with the goal of one day living the American dream,” she shared. “While this goal was abstract, it gave me hope and allowed me to continue nurturing my purpose,” During continued.

A group wearing Drexel University caps and gownsShe closed by stating what an honor it is to be graduating with the class of 2022 who she knows will do great things. “My fellow graduates, as a result of the knowledge, skills, and aptitudes acquired during the courses of our different programs, it is a privilege to follow our purpose and be given the opportunity to shine in our respective career paths.”

Gitlin introduced Melanie Cataldi, BS ’98, CNHP’s keynote speaker. Cataldi is a committed leader and collaborator for social justice with over 21 years of experience at Philabundance including founding the Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK), a culinary arts workforce development training and employment program for adults who qualify for public assistance.

An experienced community impact strategist and a member of the 2022 People of Purpose, Cataldi began her address by referencing author and “unshakable optimist” Simon Sinek who talks a lot about “Finding Your Why.” “Your why is the thing that you give to the world, the thing that makes you who you are; it’s the fundamental core of what inspires you. My “why” is that I’m a Defender of People,” she shared. She has a superpower—seeing the big picture with the ability to develop, protect, motivate and move people forward toward a common goal.

Two females wearing blue and gold caps and gownsFollowing the themes spoken of by Gitlin and During, Cataldi talked about how interprofessional collaboration is the only way she sees to achieving both food and health equity. “The causes of health inequity are complex and interwoven. Anti-hunger organizations and affordable housing builders, public and private entities and academic institutions are all part of the solution,” Cataldi argued.

Acknowledging the structural and social determinants of health, like housing, education, transportation, and food, Cataldi stated that most people would argue that food and shelter are key among those because they represent the most basic of essential needs. From Cataldi’s perspective, food equity is part of the struggle of overall health equity. Looking at the last two years, what touches one affects all with long-lasting and pervasive repercussions, and what we have done to alleviate these wide-reaching problems isn’t working.

Two people wearing Drexel University caps and gownsBecause this work will neither be easy nor quick, Cataldi challenged our graduates to find their why. “I bet if I sat down with each of you, whether your focus is research or direct service, whether you studied nursing, health administration, health sciences, nutrition, hospitality management, culinary arts and food science, creative art therapies, counseling, physician assistance or physical therapy and rehabilitation science, we would find something that is congruent with making things better—for people, for families, for communities. It’s been my experience that really understanding your “why”, your superpower, and then leveraging that in collaboration with others, is the key to success in just about everything be it family dynamics, relationships in the workplace or reaching organizational goals,” concluded Cataldi.

Below is a list of award winners from around the College.

Dean's Awards

Nicholas Eltman, Dean’s Achievement Award
Melissa Fairfield, Dean’s Social Justice Award
June Maloney, Dean’s Clinical Service Award
Shel Myers, Dean’s Award

RN-BSN and Graduate Nursing Departments

Outstanding Graduate Award
Amy C. Plotts
Adriana Ava Banks
Kaitlin Balbo
Jillian Labatch
Anne Anderson
Vicki Zahos
Pam Hughes
Joncornel Kearney
Sarah Kendall
Stephanie Pileggi
Theodore A. Klitus
Erika Lockhart
Jessa Adiletto Lassor
Ashley Olszewski
Amy Elisabeth Elliott
Melissa Fairfield
Jordan Troxell
Amy Elizabeth Fafard

Thia Jackson Baugh, Online Student Recognition (RN-BSN)
Molly Laina Scott, Outstanding Achievement (RN-BSN)

Kristin Feightner, Kathleen Jennings-Dozier Memorial Award
Lindsey Ho, Joyce Lazzaro Lifelong Achievement Award
Emily Shaw, Hahnemann Hospital Nurse Alumnae Association Award

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Department

Dominic DeLaurentis, Clinical Education Award
June Maloney, Dragon Service Award
Brianna Wagner, Leadership Award
Natalia Oliveira, Health Equity and Social Impact Award
Drew Petersen, Scholarly Excellence Award
Kerri Yacovelli, PT, MSPT, OCS, Clinical Instructor Award

Creative Arts Therapies Department

Ming Yuan Low, PhD, PhD Program in Creative Arts Therapies Teaching Promise Award and Leadership Promise Awards
Brigette K. Schneible, PhD Program in Creative Arts Therapies Research Promise Award
Natalia Alvarez-Figueroa, Rachel Haimovich, Jonathon Jenkins and Cynthia Jones, Clinical Supervisors Award Lana Sommers, MA Leadership Award
James Lavino and Lydia Patselas, MA Artistry Award
Zevi B. Koretz, MA Service Award
Rachel Chang, Tahsina Miah and Carolina Millard, MA Clinical Excellence Award
Elizabeth Allen, MA Culminating Project
Briana Marsh, Nitasha Kang And Jennifer Willbanks, Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award (JEDI)
Angela Kodokian, Lana Sommers and Taylor A. Sparks, MA Overall Achievement Award
Hayley Beck, The Dianne Dulicai Award for Dance/Movement Therapy

Alpha Eta Honor Society, the National Honor Society for the Allied Health Professions
Hayley Beck
Angela Kodokian
James Lavino
Ming Yuan Low
Tahsina Miah
Brigette Schneible
Lana Sommers
Taylor A. Sparks

Written by Roberta S. Perry


Juneteenth banner with red, black and green stripes on the left and African-American Freedom Day, Juneteenth, June 19 on the right 

June 19, 1865 marked the beginning of an era of great hope, uncertainty and struggle for newly freed enslaved people and for our nation. It is important to know our history—African American history is American history. We are a rich part of the fabric of this country who have changed the face of urban and American culture. African Americans, 157 years later, continue to be inspired and empowered to transform their lives and make an impact on society. The ability to have our stories told is vital!

As Imani Perry wrote for The Atlantic, “Racism is terrible. Blackness is not.

The work I do on the CNHP Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and my involvement in other DEI initiatives is so very critical in combating discrimination and inequity. To dismantle systemic racism and to call out the injustices that continue today against African Americans and other people of color, we know for sure it is collective work that requires input, engagement, and commitment from all of us to go on righting the wrongs of society. I believe we are called to make changes, move forward and pave the way for the next generation. We must persist in our efforts to prevent racism and violence towards others. As we celebrate Juneteenth this year think of the lives that were lost and sacrificed throughout history, the progress we’ve made in guaranteeing equity and equality and the leaders who inspire us to face today’s challenges with strength and determination.

“Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible—and there is still so much work to do.”  —Barack Obama, Former U.S. President

Written by Marcia Penn, MEd, director of special projects and member of the 2022 People of Purpose cohort


Veronica Carey, PhD, Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, College of Nursing and Health ProfessionsThe 2021 Shining a Black Light campaign elevating Black History Month and recognizing our colleagues' contributions and achievements was highly successful. Therefore, we again endeavor to celebrate Black History Month 2022 with this weekly editorial feature.

This project, conceived by Veronica Carey, PhD, the assistant dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and chair of CNHP's board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, spotlights individuals who add richness to our culture and contribute to the success of our efforts in education, research and scholarship, health equity and social justice.

"Shining a 'Black Light elevates the depth and breadth of contributions our Black and African American faculty, professional staff and students make to the sustainability of CNHP," shared Carey. Peers and colleagues recommended members of the CNHP community this year because of their accomplishments and the influence their work has on the College. Their lived experience and insight help shape what is possible concerning race-culture and inclusivity at CNHP/Drexel.

Shining a Black Light draws attention to the gifts, support, competencies and contributions members of our community are making and demonstrate that Black history is made through hard work, perseverance, and so much more.

headshot of Cynthia KloboduCynthia Klobodu, MBChB, MPH is a third-year doctoral candidate in the Nutrition Sciences Department at the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP). She’s a research fellow in the Community Nutrition lab where her faculty advisor is associate professor Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD, a member of the Drexel Food Core lab and the AgeWell Collaboratory student advisory board. As part of her work with the Drexel Food Core and Community Nutrition labs, Cynthia is involved in several food product’s development, nutrition research and presentations. She is the recipient of the 2021 American Society for Nutrition Foundation (ASNF) Mars, Inc. Predoctoral Fellowship and CNHP’s PhD Student Research Award. Cynthia has collaborated with faculty members to develop manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals. Her research interests include maternal and child nutrition, global nutrition, cancer survivorship, fertility nutrition, food waste management and sustainability and WASH. Her dissertation research is focused on exploring how nutrition can be used to support fertility treatment among female cancer survivors.

“Equity and inclusion provide equal opportunities for everyone to thrive and offers a free space for us to operate to the best of our abilities to achieve the college’s and university’s common goal. Students also get the opportunity to learn how to work in a diverse and inclusive society. I’d love to see more Black/African American people in the field of nutrition and dietetics, and I hope that we as a collective body can do more to encourage Black people’s interest in this field of health”.

A fun fact about Cynthia is that she likes to listen to Afrobeat music.

Headshot of Blare ChaseBlair Chase, LPC, ATR-BC, is an adjunct professor of Art Therapy and Counseling at Drexel University as well as other mental health counseling programs in need within the university. He is also a full-time student in the CNHP’s inaugural class of the advanced clinical Doctorate in Couples and Family Therapy (DCFT) program. Blair serves as a student member on the Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for CNHP. Blair is a full-time couples and family art therapist at Family Practice & Counseling Network (Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services), a non-profit multidisciplinary organization that provides person-centered, integrated and comprehensive health services to individuals and families across their lifespan. 

In terms of equality and inclusion at CNHP/Drexel, the DEI board, Dr. Carey and other social justice advocates at Drexel have been exerting pressure on the university to not only see the need for more inclusion but to truly understand and value that need. Currently, very few university programs stress the importance of ethnic and cultural self-awareness within their related professions. As a result, students of color graduate with only a “textbook” idea of how to succeed within their fields without any understanding of how their ethnic and cultural identities can be their greatest strength to their professional success. Students of color cannot be successful in life without knowing what is important to their white counterparts, but the reverse is not true. This microaggression puts students of color at a emotional disadvantage entering the workplace as they battle between two identities: their authentic self and the self they have been taught is “most appropriate” in the workplace. Drexel can change this by encouraging our BIPOC students to advocate for their cultural backgrounds as an asset, not a liability to their professional careers! 

A fun fact about Blair is that he is a proud brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African American men.

headshot of Kusuma SchofieldKusuma Schofield, MSEd, MPH, is administrative coordinator for Pennsylvania Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. "I think the very nature of the work I do at Drexel epitomizes the accomplishments I have achieved. Working with the different populations in the School District of Philadelphia while at Drexel over the past fifteen years has given me the knowledge and insight to climb higher and reach my own goals. This year I have successfully submitted two abstracts, one of which has already been accepted for a February speed talk. We have prepared two more abstracts for submission, as well as a manuscript in the works for 2022. This work has also made me a huge proponent of higher-level change. I work with the American Public Health Association’s Food and Nutrition Policy committee to write recommendations for policy stance consideration at the House and Senate levels. I was also just promoted to the co-chair position for the APHA education board, a part of the APHA governing boards and councils, which strives to evaluate educational opportunities provided by the organization and assure a better-educated public health workforce and more informed public. In the next term, I will serve as chair. I will be defending my PhD dissertation proposal on February 2nd so by the time you read this I will officially be a PhD candidate in nutrition sciences!

I think advocacy needs to be at the forefront of our college. What key skills do our employees possess that will enhance our ability to make formative higher-level changes? What are we doing as a group to help our fellow citizens of Philadelphia? When politically charged events occur – what can we do as a college to support our colleagues who may be uncomfortable during times of strife (Beyond an email recognition)? Years ago I participated in a lunchtime women’s mentorship group at Drexel where leaders from around the college would speak about their careers and how they reached opportunities. I believe we tried to create an LGBTQ group. Have we thought about forming a women of color group? I am a part of a few and can attest to the level of comradery achieved when you can speak openly and freely in a group that will understand your lived experience. Overall, I think the college needs to think about: How can we use the brilliant minds in our college to advocate for change and what additional social supports can we put in place for our colleagues?

A fun fact about me: I have a musical family: My cousin played saxophone for Earth, Wind and Fire for many years and his brother plays drums for Gladys Knight (his nickname is ‘Footz’ because he plays drums with no shoes on!)."

headshot of Linda WilliamsLinda Williams is U.S. Army veteran and a dance/movement therapy (DMT) student at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. Linda is a research assistant with Drexel University Creative Arts PhD candidate Nalini Prakash’s study on the impact of DMT on empathy peer relationships and ethnic bullying.

She is also a student member of the American Dance Therapy Association and serves as the Maryland/Virginia/ DC chapter’s government liaison. Linda is currently a candidate for the Philanthropic Educational Organization’s Continuing Education grant. A lifelong dancer, she is trained in Afro-Cuban dance, house, dancehall and other various dance forms. Always looking to expand her knowledge of and expertise in the human mind-body connection, Linda is also a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and licensed Zumba instructor. Linda continues to serve as an Army officer, with over 14 years of military service.

“Drawing from my military experience, I’ve observed that equity and inclusion foster a deeper sense of community and belonging within my military unit. We operated like a family and as a result, there was a deeper commitment to achieving the mission at hand. While I am new to the CNHP/Drexel community, I’m learning how imperative group cohesion is in creating a sense of belonging and the effect these factors have on a group’s zealousness, not only to achieve but to exceed previously set expectations.”

Fun Fact: Linda is in the process of launching a public health “groovement” called Groove and Move, that connects both veterans and people in her community to the healing benefits of dance and movement.

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