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Spotlighting our alumni, faculty, staff, and current students.

October 2019

Austin Musso
Austin Musso
Austen Musso, MPH
BS Nutritional Sciences, 2010; Minor in Business Administration and Minor in International Studies
Since graduating, I earned my MPH from Boston University and spent six years managing vitamin distribution programs across Africa with Vitamin Angels. I now manage food security and nutrition grants with Save the Children in Washington DC.



The nutrition program at Penn State had such a wide variety of classes on interesting topics taught by well-published professors, that sometimes I regret finishing in just four years! The global nutrition class in particular opened my eyes to complex challenges of nutrition overseas and nudged me towards my career in international public health. Outside of the classroom I enjoyed taking roles with the Student Nutrition Association and Healthworks student group which gave many of us our first opportunities to practice health promotion and advocacy in the community. I still remember wearing a giant green flu bacteria costume in the old HUB where we were distributing hand sanitizer and talking about infection prevention.
Samual Scott
Samual Scott
Samuel Scott, PhD
Ph.D. Penn State 2015; Advisor: Dr. Laura Murray-Kolb
I graduated from Penn State in 2015 with a PhD in Nutritional Sciences. I completed a one-year postdoc with Laura Murray-Kolb focusing on cognitive testing quality in the MAL-ED study. I joined the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in October 2016 and have been based in India as a Research Fellow in the Poverty Health and Nutrition Division since then.

I spent nine years at Penn State (four undergraduate + five graduate)! The opportunities for international exposure stand out to me; I studied in New Zealand and Italy as an undergraduate, conducted research in India and Rwanda and presented at conferences in other countries during my PhD, and traveled to eight countries during my postdoc. These experiences literally allowed me to see the relative importance of various aspects of nutrition in different populations and led to my current research focus on building high-quality evidence for stronger health/nutrition policies in South Asia.
Jennifer Savage Williams
Jennifer Savage Williams
Jennifer Savage Williams, PhD.
2008 Nutritional Sciences, Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University Minor: Human Development and Family Studies (Advisor Leann Birch); 2005 Nutritional Sciences, M.S. The Pennsylvania State University
DR. Savage is the Director for the Center of Childhood Obesity Research at The Pennsylvania State University and also an Associate Professor within the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Her research focuses on developing effective behavioral interventions to prevent maternal and childhood obesity. Dr. Savage’s research spans the spectrum of translation from observational studies to efficiency trails. Dr. Savage has conducted and participated in NIH, HRSA & USDA funded research in the area of childhood obesity for over 10 years and coauthored about 75 papers in international journals and conference proceedings.

I arrived at Penn State with the intention of completing a Ph.D. to become an instructor, but that changed quickly as a fell head over heals in love with research. My coursework and laboratory training provided me with specialized training in ingestive behavior from internationally recognized leaders in the field. I pre- and post-weighed a ton of study foods and ate my fair share of left over study foods (more than I care to admit). Although I was continually challenged, I also felt encouraged and supported throughout my training. My fondest memories are shared with my extended "research family" who I continue to see at conferences and social events! We ARE!

September 2019

Pao Ying Hsiao
Pao Ying Hsiao
Pao Ying Hsiao, PhD, MS, RDN, LDN
PhD, Penn State, 2012
I graduated from Penn State with a PhD in Nutritional Sciences in 2012. I am currently an Associate Professor at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I teach classes in introductory nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, nutrition and aging, public health nutrition, and advanced metabolism. In addition to teaching, I am also the program coordinator for our online master's degree program and the faculty advisor for our student nutrition organization, the Student Association for Nutrition and Dietetics (SAND).

In my 4 years at Penn State, I loved that I had the opportunity to attend and present research at professional conferences like the International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods (ICDAM), the Experimental Biology meeting and the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). Attending these meetings gave me the opportunity to meet and interact with well-known nutrition scientists. it also allowed me to find volunteer leadership opportunities, which has helped to keep me connected.

I also loved being involved in the Nutrition Student Graduate Association, which was the grad student organization of the department. I was part of the group of students who initiated the efforts to raise money for the State College Food Bank through founding and organizing the Iron Chef competition. Being a part of this group helped me to value the connections with my peers, which we affectionately coined as "lateral networking". As the faculty advisor for my department's nutrition organization, I am constantly telling my students the importance of not only networking with those of "influence", but also among their peers. I truly valued the connections and relationships that I built with my fellow students while at Penn State and keep in touch most of them to this day.

July 2019

Katherine Balantekin
Katherine Balantekin
Katherine Balantekin, Ph.D
Ph.D. Penn State 2015; Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Savage Williams
I graduated from Penn State in 2015 with a PhD in Nutritional Sciences with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. After graduation, I completed my postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine. I am now a Clinical Assistant Professor at University at Buffalo.

I am so grateful that I got to train on the Childhood Obesity Prevention Training Grant. As part of the training, I got to train under and meet with some of our country’s leading experts in childhood obesity prevention and treatment. Becoming colleagues (and friends!) with some of our leading nutrition and Ingestive Behavior experts is something that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Eli Bress
Eli Bress
Eli Bress
B.S., 2015, Nutritional Science and Minor in Biology, Penn State D.O., 2019, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM
Upon graduating from Penn State, I entered medical school at LECOM where I spent 4 years obtaining my medical degree. I currently am an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) resident in Philadelphia where I am completing a 5-year surgical residency. After completing this residency, I plan on attending a fellowship for Rhinology and Skull Base Surgery.

Entering Penn State as a freshman in 2011, I was unsure of what major I wanted to study. Initially I began in Biology, but after a summer class in Nutrition 251, I realized that nutrition was the field that I wanted to pursue. I encourage all students who are interested in medicine to study nutrition. I found that my nutrition foundation that I received at Penn State provided me with an advantage when entering medical school. With preventative care being more emphasized in the health care field, having an extensive foundation in nutrition has been invaluable in the care of my patients.

Among the great education I received from Penn State, the experiences that it provided were just as valuable. While at Penn State, I had the ability to create a club sport, participate in fundraising activities like Relay for Life and THON, meet friends that I have had ever since, and have the ultimate college experience I was looking for in a university. Undoubtedly, I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without Penn State and the knowledge and personal growth that I received during my 4 years.
Jennifer Meder
Jennifer Meder
Jennifer Meder
B.S. Penn State, 2006
After graduating from Penn State, I moved to Baltimore to complete the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center dietetic internship. I stayed on after graduating from the internship as a registered dietitian. I quickly realized my love for nutrition support, earning my Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC). I spent a couple years back in Happy Valley (not just my alma mater but also my home town) working at Mount Nittany Medical Center in the ICU. During this time I worked in acute care and also was project manager for a diet office software build and transition. Three years ago, I accepted a position at Mayo Clinic in Florida. I specialize in enteral and parenteral nutrition support in the intensive care unit and love what I do. In addition, I have provided malnutrition in-services to physicians and advanced practice providers, precept dietetic interns and have residents and fellows rotate through a nutrition rotation.

Penn State provided an amazing educational foundation. I am fortunate to have learned from and worked with brilliant instructors and researchers in the field of nutrition during my time as a student. The support from nutrition faculty as well as my fellow students throughout my college experience was so important. This strong foundation has allowed me to continue to apply the knowledge learned as I continue to build strong clinical skills and provide the best patient care.

It is difficult to pick my most memorable moment during my time as a Penn State student. I had the opportunity to study abroad twice during my undergraduate career; in Ireland and in Italy with the International Program in Nutrition. These experiences were so valuable and I am very grateful to have had the opportunities. I recommend study abroad to every undergraduate student.
Laura Murray Kolb
Laura Murray Kolb
Laura Murray-Kolb, PhD
PhD, 2003 (Nutritional Sciences); Advisor: Dr. John Beard | MS, 1998 (Nutrition); Advisors: Dr. Wayne Campbell and Dr. John Beard | BS, 1995 (Pre-medicine)
After graduating from Penn State in 2003, I completed a 2-year NIMH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Psychology and Human Development. I then accepted a tenure-track faculty position at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where I worked in the Department of International Health until I returned to Penn State in 2009. I am currently an Associate Professor and Professor-in-Charge of the Graduate Program in the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

I wouldn’t trade my Penn State education for any other! There are so many things that make Penn State a special place but two that stand out in particular are the ability to conduct research at any stage (I started as an undergrad, working in a lab which was studying the effects of aging by using a Drosophila model) and the quality of the faculty. When I started my MS, my plan was to learn about nutrition and then go to medical school. However, my advisor’s enthusiasm for research was so contagious that before I knew it, I was immersed in and fascinated by the field of nutritional sciences research and knew that I wanted to pursue that as a career. I was challenged and stretched by so many opportunities during graduate school and the faculty consistently went above and beyond to help me become a leader in the scientific community. I am forever grateful for their dedication!

May 2019

Andrea Early
Andrea Early
Andrea (Sleep) Early, MS, RD
B.S., Penn State 1995; M.S., James Madison University; Dietetic Internship, 1999, Virginia Department of Health
Andrea Early, MS, RD, graduated from Penn State in 1995 with a B. S. in Nutrition and then went on to earn a Master of Science in Health Sciences from James Madison University and completed a dietetic internship with the Virginia Department of Health in 1999. After holding several positions in WIC in both Virginia and Pennsylvania, in 2003 Andrea accepted a position which she currently holds as Executive Director of School Nutrition with Harrisonburg City Public Schools in Harrisonburg, VA.

Reflecting back on her time at Penn State Andrea says, “My four years at Penn State stand out as some of the most memorable years of my life. The nutrition curriculum proved to be comprehensive and laid the foundation for entry into a graduate program with a concentration in dietetics. I feel blessed to have made lifelong friends at Penn State - friends who have seen each other through both good times and bad over the last 20+ years. We are!”
Melissa Froehlich
Melissa Froehlich
Melissa Froehlich
B.S., Penn State 2010
Melissa Froehlich graduated from Penn State in 2010 with a B. S. in Nutritional Sciences. Since graduation, she has worked in school food service, starting as an Assistant Food Service Director for the Upper Dublin School District. She currently serves as the School Nutrition Coordinator for North Penn School District in Lansdale, PA where she manages 150 employees and serves 14,000 students every day. North Penn participates in school breakfast, school lunch, the Afterschool Snack Program, summer meals, and also delivers meals to local daycares through the Child and Adult Care Food Program. In the 2017/18 school year Melissa served as President of the School Nutrition Association of Pennsylvania, the youngest person to ever hold that office.

Melissa credits an experience she had at Penn State, working as a Student Nutrition Assistant with the dining commons, with impacting her career choice. She said that the experience “opened my eyes to how my nutrition degree could be used in a school setting and how I could influence the eating habits of students today, to live healthier futures.”
Lori McCoy
Lori McCoy
Lori (Garber) McCoy, RD
B.S., Penn State 1998
Lori graduated from Penn State with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition in 1998 and became a Registered Dietitian shortly after graduation. For the past 12 years she has been employed as a School Food Service Director for Colonial School District that encompasses the Pennsylvania townships of Plymouth, Whitemarsh, and Conshohocken and serves over 5,000 students. She is an active member of the School Nutrition Association of Pennsylvania and served as President of the association in 2014.

Lori says that she will forever credit Penn State for her career path. While attending Penn State a guest speaker in one of her classes introduced her to the field of school nutrition. The school she attended as a child only sold juice and ice cream so she had not realized how exciting the world of school nutrition could be.

Lori continues to visit Penn State annually with her husband and two sons. She says, “Other things that stand out to me the most from being at Penn State include the memories of crossing the Old Main lawn, hearing the familiar chimes of the clock from the ionic bell tower, and seeing happy faces everywhere. It is not called ‘Happy Valley’ for nothing!”
Molly Michelman
Molly Michelman
Molly Michelman
M.S., Penn State 1997
Molly Michelman graduated from Penn State in 1998 with a M. S. in Nutrition. After serving on faculty at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for 17 years Molly left that position to work as a community dietitian. She currently works for a company called “Healthy Interactions” where she provides nutrition education for the older adult population. Molly says, “Each time I see one of my former professors or former fellow students in a journal, presenting at a conference or quoted, I feel extremely proud to be an alum. As a student, I recall thinking that I was part of a department that was powerful and influential in the world of nutrition science. My advisor, Claudia Probart, helped me to find and use my individual strengths. I borrowed her ability to find the unique talent in each of my students when I was a faculty member myself, and know that her creative approach to nutrition influenced the way that I educate others.”

April 2019

Julie Charnosky
Julie Charnosky
Julie Charnosky, MS RDN LDN FAND
B.S., 1999 Nutrition, Penn State, 2001 Dietetic Internship, Penn State
I have spent most of my career working in acute care nutrition. I worked for 10 years for Sodexo as a clinical dietitian then moved into nutrition management. I worked for Morrison Healthcare as a Clinical Nutrition Manager, Regional Clinical Nutrition Manager, and Director of Food & Nutrition. Recently, I worked as a Systems Ambulatory Nutrition Supervisor for the UPMC Pinnacle Hospital System. Currently, I decided to pursue my entrepreneurial passion to open my own private practice and consulting business. I also teach a Nutrition class for Nursing Students at a local college.

My Penn State Nutrition experience was one of an educational environment that allowed me to collaborate with diverse groups of people with varying skills and backgrounds, to take on leadership roles no matter how big or small, and afforded me an education that allows me to provide excellent care to my clients. Since my Penn State experience, I have held leadership roles in both my local and state dietetic associations. Directed an award-winning food service team - thank you Cafe Laura class (I know it has a different name now)! The sense of service that was instilled in me at Penn State has inspired me to stay active in my own community where I am active on several board of directors and coach youth sports.

It is extremely hard to pick my most memorable Penn State moment. I grew up in a small PA town and my very first class had more students in it than my entire entire middle school and high school combined. I knew I had arrived! The second moment was graduating in the first class of Penn State dietetic interns! I met two of my best friends in life - Betsy and Susie.
Nikki Jones
Nikki Jones
Nikki Jones
M.P.S. Nutritional Sciences Student: projected graduation, 2020
After graduating from Penn State with a B.S. in Kinesiology: Movement Science in 2013, I started a small online fitness business in New York City that focused on overall wellbeing and exercise. I am currently in the process of transitioning that project into a corporate wellness business tailored to the health of executives and their employees in Asia.

It was imperative for me to find a program that supports my entrepreneurial goals, and to utilize the program in a way that caters to my unique professional development. I currently live in Hong Kong and love that Penn State World Campus has allowed me the opportunity to network and connect with friends and colleagues around the world including Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and New York City.
Page Whitmire
Page Whitmire
Paige Whitmire
B.S., December 2013 PSU Dietetic Internship, July 2015 M.P.S., Expected December 2019
I am a Penn Stater through and through! I earned my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nutrition at Penn State in December 2013. In July 2015, I completed Penn State’s Dietetic Internship Program. I am currently enrolled in Penn State’s Masters of Professional Studies in Nutrition program with my expected graduation being December 2019.

I currently work for Sodexo in a nursing home and rehabilitation center called Manor Care in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. My previous job was completely different; I worked in a personal training facility mainly focusing on weight management counseling and community nutrition education. I am grateful for my Penn State education and the many professors who have supported me. With their help, I have succeeded in a variety of areas of nutrition. During my time at Penn State, I was honored to represent our school as a student athlete. These are some of my fondest memories as I spent (and continue to spend) every day feeling so proud to be a Nittany Lion.

March 2019

Photo of Nick McCormick
Photo of Nick McCormick
Nick McCormick
B.S., 2009 and Ph.D., 2014
Major: Nutritional Science, BS, 2009 and Nutritional Science, PhD, 2014 both at Penn State
After graduation I worked at Glanbia in Scientific Affairs until 2015 and then Coca-Cola in Nutrition Strategy until now
Shout Out: The Penn State Nutrition Department was a wonderful and inspiring place to start my professional career!
Photo of Mackenzie Lombardi
Photo of Mackenzie Lombardi
Mackenzie Lombardi
B.S., May 2019
Major: Nutritional Sciences- dietetics option
Graduation: expected May 2019!

Doing currently: I am an undergraduate student currently applying for dietetic internships! I also am apart of Penn State's Student Nutrition Association, which keeps me very busy and I wouldn't have it any other way! 😉

My Penn State Experience: I love how Penn State provides you with the foundation to immerse yourself in any activity you'd like. As a Penn Stater I have been able to become involved in my classes, clubs, and on campus research projects with faculty members. In the nutrition department I have enjoyed every minute getting to know my professors, advisors, and fellow students. Being in an environment with other like minded individuals has allowed me to make friendships and connections that I will keep for life.

Most memorable: I think the most memorable event for me (so far), was being able to attend the academy of nutrition & dietetics' annual conference: FNCE. Being there allowed me to see where my future self would fit into the professional world of dietetics and how vast our field is!
Carolyn Berdanier
Carolyn Berdanier
Carolyn Berdanier
B.S., 1958, Professor Emeritus, Univ of GA
I went to Graduate School (at Rutgers) and fell in love with Nutrition Science. I earned my Masters and Doctorate in '63 and '66 respectively, and then did a Post Doc. I began my career in science and have loved every minute.

My Penn State Experience - It was a great four years! I took a lot of science courses. I really loved biochemistry. I then took an advanced nutrition course that really set me on fire. I suspect that this course was a pivotal factor in my desire to attend graduate school in Nutrition.

One of the things I have really appreciated is the fact that I graduated from an unaccredited high school.  It was a very small school from which few went to college. Penn State took a chance on me and I am eternally grateful!
Durra AlSumaiti
Durra AlSumaiti
Durra AlSumaiti, MS, RD
B.S. Penn State, 2015
After graduating from Penn State, I pursued a combined Master of Science (MS) and Dietetic Internship (DI) program at Boston University. During my MS in Nutrition Science program, I completed a practicum at the Center for Metabolic Bariatric Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where I had the opportunity to deliver education to patients at various timelines from surgery, several times in individual and group settings. Upon my completion of the MS degree program, I interned at Boston Medical Center, where I participated in a variety of nutrition practice and thereafter became a registered dietitian (RD).

I decided to settle down and work in Kuwait, my hometown, after spending six years of studying abroad. I started working as a foodservice dietitian at Ahmadi Hospital, affiliated to Kuwait Oil Company, where I was able to creatively set a healthy lunch box menu targeting the employees of the company. In addition, I participated in multiple health awareness campaigns as a lead dietitian. I wanted to taste the clinical dietetic aspect in Kuwait and decided to apply at Dasman Diabetes Institute, where I am currently working as a senior dietitian.

Penn State gave me a solid dietetics foundation that allowed me to excel in both my academic and professional life. Specifically, the research class in my senior year allowed me to understand the fundamental elements of nutrition epidemiology. Moreover, I honor the hands on experience I had at Hershey Medical Center as it evolved in building my nutrition expertise and implied the deep meaning of teamwork that is essential in every environment. Overall, the experience and knowledge from Penn State continues to inspire me to prosper in the nutrition field.