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The Department of Nutritional Sciences has had an exceptionally productive year across the research, teaching, and service domains that comprise our mission.

Key events included the following:

Graduate Student Recruitment Weekend

This exciting new program created by Drs. Kasia Kordas, Shannon Kelleher, and Shelly Nickols-Richardson brought in some of our top student prospects in the fall of 2009 for two days of presentations, networking, and social events. A number of the exceptional students who attended the program accepted offers to join our graduate program.

Policy, Purpose, People: Improving Nutrition Education

This multidisciplinary education conference held in the fall of 2009 was directed by Dr. Jill Patterson and had nearly 200 attendees. The keynote speaker was Dr. Isobel Contento, the Mary Swartz Rose professor of nutrition and education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Iron Works…John Beard Memorial Symposium

This wonderful event was held November 2, 2009, and was chaired by Shannon Kelleher and Dr. Jere Haas, the Nancy Schlegel Meinig professor of maternal and child nutrition at Cornell University. The symposium was attended by a broad audience of faculty colleagues, students, and the Beard family. Renowned speakers included Dr. Elizabeth Theil (Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) and the University of California, Berkeley), Dr. James Connor (Penn State College of Medicine), Betsy Lozoff (The University of Michigan), Dr. Laura Murray-Kolb (Penn State), Dr. Rebecca Stoltzfus (Cornell), and Dr. Sean Lynch (Eastern Virginia Medical School). The symposium also served to announce the creation of the John L. Beard Program Endowment in the Department of Nutritional Sciences (see gift opportunities).

Iron Chef Competition

Spring 2010 was the second offering of this creative fundraising competition organized by the Nutrition Graduate Student Association. Twelve teams of students, faculty, and staff competed for best dish using apples as the secret ingredient. The winning team from the School of Nursing won the prize for a “mac and cheese” dish using McIntosh apples. The event raised nearly $3,500, which benefitted the State College Area Food Bank.

American Society for Nutrition Meeting at Experimental Biology

The 2010 meeting in Anaheim was a breakthrough year for the department. Dr. Shannon Kelleher received the prestigious E.L.R. Stokstad Award. Our students or postdoctoral fellows gave seventeen oral or poster research presentations. Recognitions included:

  • Ann Skulas-Ray – Travel Award
  • Pao Ying Hsiao – Clinical Emerging Leader Competition
  • Young Seo – Graduate Student Research Award and Wrigley Fellowship
  • Vanessa Velasquez – Mars, Inc. Predoctoral Fellowship and FASEB MARC Travel Award
  • Veronica Lopez – FASEB MARC Travel Award
  • Lamis Jomaa – Nutrition Education Interest Section Research Competition
  • Yao Zhang – Nutritional Immunology Research Interest Group
  • Frank Duca – Vitamins and Minerals Research Interest Group

Total research grant dollars from sixty awards credited to the Department of Nutritional Sciences were an exceptional $27 million for 2009-10. During that same year our faculty also published sixty-nine research papers, one book, and five book chapters.

For the fall of 2010 the department projects education and training for 334 undergraduate nutrition majors (83 percent Applied Sciences option, 17 percent Basic Sciences option), eight dietetic interns, and forty graduate students. Incoming new graduate students for fall 2010 include Kristen Arnold ’10 NUTR (Penn State), Michael Flock (University of Dayton), Stephen Hennigar (University of New Hampshire), Jessica Lindgren ’10 NUTR (Penn State), Xiaoran Liu (University of Manitoba, Canada), Huicui Meng (Shandong University, China), Sarah Nelson (Carnegie Mellon University), Samuel Scott ’10 NUTR (Penn State), and Dara Wheeler ’09 NUTR (Millersville University and Penn State).

Faculty recruitment remains a high priority for the department. We currently have two active searches: a tenure-line assistant professor of nutritional sciences with focus on micronutrients and a tenure-line open rank position with focus on neuro-imaging and ingestive behavior. Detailed descriptions of both positions can be found at

Gordon JensenThe future for the Department of Nutritional Sciences is very positive. Please take the opportunity to come by to visit us in Happy Valley. We will be thrilled to give you a tour of our new facilities. The Nutrition and Dietetics Alumni Society (NDAS) is a terrific way to get involved. Many alumni join us at one of our annual receptions at the ADA or EB meetings. Our extensive Nutritional Sciences alumni network is one of our most prized resources. We need your friendship, feedback, and support. Please take a moment to review gift opportunities within the department. Do not hesitate to contact me directly with queries, suggestions, or concerns. We look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Dr. Gordon L. Jensen
Professor and Head, Department of Nutritional Sciences
Professor of Medicine