The Nutrition Science and Dietetics in Falk College is pleased to recognize the outstanding work of its undergraduate and graduate students for excellence.
Emily Gere Coon Award: Mariana Perez Lugo
The Emily Gere Coon Award was established in 1952 by Harold Coon in memory of his wife, a faculty member in the College for Human Development, who was also a member of the first graduating class in 1922. The award is presented to the sophomore with the highest academic average in Nutrition in their freshman year.
Nutrition Science and Dietetics Research Award – Undergraduate: Mariana Perez Lugo
The Nutrition Science and Dietetics Research Award is given to an undergraduate student for outstanding accomplishments in research. Undergraduate students in nutrition submit a one-page description of their research, an example of their research, an abstract and a letter of recommendation from their advisor. Mariana is one of the few students who immersed herself in research in her first year. She is pro-active, dedicated, and hardworking. She received a SOURCE grant and was recently selected to be McNair scholar. We are excited to see the other accolades Mariana will receive during her time at SU.
Florence B Potter Memorial Award: Alyssa Quinn
The Florence B Potter Memorial Award was established by the New York State Federation of Home Bureaus in honor of Florence B Potter. Alyssa has worked as a learning assistant for our lower-level undergraduate foods classes. She is an excellent student who is fully engaged in the dietetics curriculum.
Marjorie V Dibble Scholarship Award: Eliza Mulloy
The Marjorie V Dibble Scholarship Award was established in 1977 in recognition of Professor Dibble’s 25th Anniversary with the College for Human Development. The award provides scholarship to a full-time sophomore or junior in the Nutrition Science and Dietetics program, with good academic standing, who is interested in a career in this field. Eliza is an exceptional student and critical thinker. She plans to pursue dental school after she completes her degree. She is a strong student academically and we are pleased that she chose the nutrition science program.
Ruth Tolley Award: Junhui Yang
The Ruth Tolley Award was established by the Women of the University Community in honor of Ruth Tolley. It is presented to a female student, completing their junior year, who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and clearly stated career goals consistent with the field of Nutrition. Junhui “Carol” is an exceptional student who is focused and has tremendous respect for the science of dietetics and how she can add to the field with the goal of improving human health. Carol was a teaching assistant in NSD 225 for the Summer College program in 2022 and contributed to a robust and exciting course for high school students interested in STEM.
Victoria F Thiele Scholarship Award: Elizabeth Kot
The Victoria F Thiele Scholarship Award was established in 1981 in memory of Dr. Victoria F Thiele, in recognition of her contributions to the College for Human Development. The award is presented to full-time sophomore or junior students majoring in Nutrition. Elizabeth’s professors noted that she is an excellent critical thinker. She has excelled academically and has a goal of becoming a sports dietitian.
Victoria F Thiele Scholarship Award: Tess Palin
The Victoria F Thiele Scholarship Award was established in 1981 in memory of Dr. Victoria F Thiele, in recognition of her contributions to the College for Human Development. The award is presented to full-time sophomore or junior students majoring in Nutrition. Tess is highly engaged as the Volunteer Coordinator for NEPA and brings new ideas and energy to the club this year. We are excited to see watch Tess move through the remainder of her time at SU and know she will continue to make a significant contribution to the department and university.
Peer Leader in Nutrition Science and Dietetics Award: Madison Baker
The Peer Leader in Nutrition Science and Dietetics Award is given in recognition of leadership. The recipient is nominated by their peers. Madison has volunteered in several leadership roles while at SU that have allowed her to develop strong leadership. She was a Leadership Intern at the Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public and Community Service where she developed and trained student volunteers for community nutrition education programs. She was the Treasurer of the Nutrition Education and Promotion Association and an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the Nutrition in Health course. Of note, Madison revitalized NEPA from its dormant state due to the pandemic. The student body membership is now robust, and students are enjoying regular activities including guest speakers, yoga and trivia events and a thriving Instagram page. She will begin her dietetic internship at Syracuse University this fall.
Selleck Award: Olivia Templeton
The Selleck Award is given to a senior with exceptional personal qualities, significant service to the University and highest academic average for freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Olivia is truly deserving of the Selleck Award. She not only performed well in her classes during the pandemic, but also successfully carried out an in-person research project for her honors thesis. During her time at SU, Olivia received a SOURCE grant to support her research, served in a leadership role for Slow Food SU, and worked as a campus tour guide. She will complete her degree with a Minor in Sustainable Food Enterprises and the Renee Crown Honor’s Program. Olivia is headed to Boston next year to complete her dietetic internship and master’s degree through Simmons College.
Faculty Award for Excellence in Nutrition Science: Samantha Jezak
The Faculty Award for Excellence in Nutrition Science is given to a student who has demonstrated excellence in the field of Nutrition Science. Sam has consistently been one of the top students in our program. In addition to her academic success, Sam has also taken on challenges outside of the classroom. Sam completed her honors thesis by conducting a 3-month vegetarian diet intervention study. She recently presented the results of this project at the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting. Sam has also been a leader in the Slow Food SU organization over the last 3 years. Sam will be attending graduate school at Tufts University in the fall.
Falk Scholar: Samantha Jezak and Olivia Templeton
Falk College Scholars represent undergraduate students in Falk College who display academic excellence, exceptional campus and community engagement, and personal integrity. We are pleased to have two Falk scholars in the nutrition programs. In addition to the achievements previously noted, both Samantha and Olivia worked with Dr. Jessica Garay on a book chapter for the Health Professional’s Guide to Dietary Supplements, which is set to be published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics later this year. They will be listed as co-authors for the Soy Protein & Plant Sterols chapter.
Vershann Icem-Wright Professional Promise in Nutrition Science and Dietetics Award: Samantha Sutton
The Vershann Icem-Wright Professional Promise in Nutrition Science and Dietetics Award is given to a student who has a well-rounded record of contribution toward the field of nutrition and exhibited personal development as a future professional. Samantha began her dietetics career as a Social Media Ambassador for Weight Watchers. She was also chosen as a Wellness Coach where she toured state to state and met Oprah Winfrey in this capacity. She has been a Teaching Assistant in a food service course and managed to balance the completion of her degree while balancing family life. She has been a role model to her peers in many ways.
Victoria Li Scholarship Award: Eleni Karakasi
The Victoria Li Scholarship Award is given to a junior or senior Nutrition major, a pillar and leader, working with the community to improve an individual’s or groups’ nutrition knowledge and/or dietary intake. The award recipient exemplifies some of Tori’s best qualities: compassion (generous with time and energy), positivity and humility. Eleni is a wonderful representative of our Nutrition program and truly embodies the qualities associated with this award. Her positive energy and enthusiasm are contagious. Despite being extremely busy as a student-athlete, Eleni has sought out opportunities to get involved with research and student organizations like Slow Food SU. Having grown up in Greece consuming a Mediterranean diet as a matter of course, Eleni was well-positioned to compare the usual American processed diet with the traditional eating patterns she knew so well and has generously shared her lived experience with her classmates. In addition to the Nutrition/dietetics major, Eleni is also completing a minor in Public Health. She has been named to the Dean’s List every year and to the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference of NCAA) for four straight years. Her original interest was in sport nutrition, but as she has grown in the discipline, she has developed an interest in nutritional metabolism and nutritional genomics. In addition to being a varsity volleyball player, Eleni has volunteered with the Food Busters program and the SU Food Pantry on south campus. She volunteered at the Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse with the SU Student Athletic Advisory Committee and gained an interest in clinical pediatric nutrition. She represented the SU student athletes on the ACC Sports Sustainability Team.
Outstanding Dietetic Intern – Director’s Award: Shaila Chohan
The Outstanding Dietetic Intern – Director’s Award is given to a Dietetic Intern for outstanding accomplishments in the Dietetic Internship Program. Shaila described herself as “very determined” and she has demonstrated this every day of her internship. She approaches everything with the highest level of professionalism, perseverance, and grace. Shaila consistently raises the bar and has many successes to celebrate throughout the internship program. She will continue to make us proud as she enters the next phase on her journey to become a registered dietitian. Congratulations, Shaila!
Susan J Crockett Prize for Student Leadership: Olivia Mancabelli
The Susan J Crockett Prize for Student Leadership is given to a student who has shown outstanding leadership qualities during their academic career. Olivia has been a leader and role model among her peers. She has pursued her graduate degree while maintaining a job at Upstate Community Hospital and has served as a Student Representative and board member in the Central New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This has allowed her to network and volunteer with registered dietitians within the Syracuse community. She will begin her dietetic internship this fall at Syracuse University.
Outstanding Graduate Assistant in Nutrition Science Award: Akriti Shrestha
The Outstanding Graduate Assistant in Nutrition Science Award is given to a graduate assistant who has provided exceptional service to the faculty. Faculty nominate worthy teaching or research candidates. This year the graduate faculty recognize Akriti Shrestha for her exceptional service, work ethic and commitment as a graduate assistant. Akriti has served as the graduate research assistant to Dr. Latha Ramalingam for two year and has been an asset in her research lab. Akriti is a recipient of the predoctoral fellowship from the American Society of Nutrition and had published one manuscript and is working on another one. She is off to Urbana Champagne for her PhD.
Outstanding Graduate Student in Nutrition Science Award: Rebecca Garofano
The Outstanding Graduate Student in Nutrition Science Award is given to a graduate student for outstanding accomplishment in leadership, citizenship, work ethic and professional promise. Faculty nominate a graduate student for this award considering their scholarship, citizenship, work ethic and professional promise. This year the graduate faculty recognize Rebecca Garofano for her academic aptitude and excellence as well as her professional dedication to the field of Nutrition Science and Dietetics. Rebecca’s master’s thesis focuses on sustainable diets in indigenous and immigrant populations. She is assessing the nutritional functional diversity of endemic/local vegetation in the agroecological/agroforestry spaces these communities maintain and protect. Rebecca is active in several Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) groups. She has organized a session for the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™(FNCE) for fall 2022 titled “Practicing Food Solidarity: Lessons from a Farmworker Community’s Food Pantry Vegetable Garden. Rebecca obtained monetary support for the FNCE session from the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group and the Latinos and Hispanics in Dietetics and Nutrition (LAHIDAN) Member Interest Group of AND. Within the Nutrition Science graduate program, Rebecca was instrumental in developing a teaching grant proposal submitted to the USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship program (NNF) titled “Investing in a Food System for Equity and Human Health: Training the Next Generation of Interdisciplinary Leaders.” In addition to this departmental award, Rebecca is the 2022 recipient of the Outstanding Dietetic Student for New York State. She will begin her dietetic internship this fall at Syracuse University.
Nutrition Science and Dietetics Research Award – Graduate: Justin Pascual
The Nutrition Science and Dietetics Research Award is given to a graduate student for outstanding accomplishments in research. Graduate students in nutrition submit a one-page description of their research, an example of their research, an abstract and a letter of recommendation from their advisor. Justin’s master’s research is unique in that it explores the intersection between nutrition and exercise science. His thesis is titled “Vitamin D3 Status and the Vestibulo-Sympathetic Reflex During Head Down Flexion in Healthy Adults.” Justin is a veteran of the United States Air Force and currently serves with the New York Air National Guard. After graduation, he will attend an armed forces PhD program to become a naval aerospace and operational physiologist with the United States Navy.