Nutrition Science & Dietetics  News

2019 Falk Student Research Celebration Takes Place March 26-29

Brooks Gump and Ivan Castro stand next to a research poster
Falk Family Endowed Professor in Public Health, Brooks Gump with 2018 poster session winner Ivan Castro, Graduate Student in Public Health

Falk students are invited to submit posters for completed or in-progress empirical, exploratory, policy analytic or hypothesis-driven research projects using qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods for display, judging, and awards in the 2019 Falk Student Research Celebration March 26-29. The multi-day event will highlight Falk students’ research collaborations and their dedication to advancing research knowledge.

Poster entry forms are due March 7 and poster submissions are due March 21. Posters will be on display beginning March 26 near the second floor student lounge and the Falk Café on 2 in the Falk Complex, with judging and awards taking place March 27. Students will present their posters from 12 to 1 p.m. on March 27 and 28.

The Falk College Research Center promotes a robust, collaborative research community in which students play an active role. At Falk, graduate and undergraduate students have the opportunity to work directly with faculty to collect data, analyze findings and draw conclusions on relevant topics surrounding public health, food studies, nutrition, sport management, human development and family science, social work, and marriage and family therapy.

“Conducting research as a student has many benefits, including building a strong relationship with Falk faculty members, improving writing and statistical analysis skills, and creating connections both on and off campus,” says instructor Jessica Redmond. “Because much of the research in Falk College has real-world implications, we want students to be able to share their findings publicly, and the Falk Student Research Celebration is the perfect opportunity to do so.”

“The student research days is a great showcase of the work our students are doing to understand the world and the human condition,” says assistant professor David Larsen. “It’s always fun to see the new ideas that our students have, and how they are seeking to improve the world we live in.”

Assistant professor Bhavneet Walia agrees. “It’s a great way to quench your curiosity,” she says. “Come see what our students are up to at the Falk Student Research Celebration.”

Winners of the 2018 Falk Student Research Celebration, held March 27-30, 2018, included research in a wide range of topics, such as maternal health, accessibility, and PTSD.

For more information about the 2019 Falk Student Research Celebration, contact Amy Dumas at the Falk Research Center.

Falk College expands graduate merit scholarships beginning Summer 2019


Falk College White and MacNaughton Hall Exterior

Graduate merit scholarships have been expanded for prospective students interested in matriculating into master’s degrees, either full- or part-time, offered in Falk College effective Summer 2019 (includes MAYmester Summer Session I, Summer Session II, Combined Summer Session). Incentives include no application fee, GRE waiver where applicable, and a 25 percent tuition discount incentive, which is applied after any other scholarships, scholarship credits, assistantships and remitted tuition credits are applied.

Eligible matriculated students include:

  • All Syracuse University alumni applying to master’s degree programs in Falk College (see list below), including members of the Class of 2019;
  • Children of current full-time Syracuse University employees (notarized supplemental forms required);
  • Any Advanced Standing MSW-enrolled student from any accredited BSW/BSSW program throughout the nation, and;
  • Current Falk master’s program students who are Syracuse University alumni; children of current full-time Syracuse University employees are also eligible.

Falk graduate programs include:

  • Food Studies, M.S.
  • Global Health, M.S.
  • Human Development & Family Science, M.A., M.S.
  • Marriage and Family Therapy, M.A.
  • Nutrition Science, M.A., M.S.
  • Public Health, M.S.
  • Social Work, Advanced Standing Program, M.S.W.
  • Social Work, M.S.W.
  • Social Work and Marriage and Family Therapy Dual Degree, M.A./M.S.W.
  • Sport Venue & Event Management, M.S.

Interested students should contact Falk Admissions, submit their application, and must formally matriculate. For more information, please contact the Falk College Office of Admissions at 315.443.5555 or email Award is subject to change.

Contact Admissions

Litt Lecture features Cleveland Browns performance dietitian

Katy Meassick
Katy Meassick, RD

The Falk College and its nutrition program will host the fourth annual Ann Litt Distinguished Lecture Series on November 15 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Falk Complex, Room 200. Nutrition alumna and Cleveland Browns performance dietitian, Katy Meassick, R.D., will provide an overview of sport nutrition practices and discuss the specifics around performance nutrition approaches for football in her lecture, “Sports Nutrition and Application in Professional Football.” The event is free and open to the public. For information about the Ann Litt Lecture and for accommodations requests, please contact Donna Sparkes at or 315.443.5573 by November 8.

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Falk College nutrition major named 2018-19 Remembrance Scholar


White Roses at the Place of Remembrance for the Rose-Laying CeremonyFalk College nutrition major Mary Mik ’19 was named a 2018-19 Remembrance Scholar, along with 34 other Syracuse University seniors honored for their notable scholarship, citizenship, and service.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988. The University’s Remembrance and Lockerbie Scholars have planned events for the week of October 28 during the annual Remembrance Week to honor the 270 people, including 35 students studying abroad through Syracuse University, who lost their lives in the tragedy and to educate the community about terrorism.

For a complete list of activities, please visit Syracuse University News. Those who require accommodations to fully participate in these events should contact Kelly Rodoski at 315.443.5381 or

Remembrance Week

Nutrition student says Syracuse experience is “more than I could have imagined”

Justin Pascual making pasta in Italy as part of the Mediterranean Food and Culture course.
Justin working in one of the kitchens he visited in Italy as part of the Mediterranean Food and Culture course.

Any race longer than 26.2 miles is considered an “ultra-marathon.” Syracuse senior Justin Pascual is training for one. For some, it might sound crazy. But for Justin, whose favorite course is organic chemistry, there’s something truly fun about a challenge.

As native of Sierra Vista, Arizona, Syracuse wasn’t exactly a familiar place on the map when Justin arrived on campus in 2017. In fact, Justin enrolled at Syracuse University before ever visiting in New York State.

A deciding factor was the student-to-faculty ratios at SU, and specifically the nutrition and nutrition science programs, where Justin says students can build meaningful connections with faculty. “For me, one’s relationship with their faculty makes the experience, and Syracuse University offered to me exactly what I was looking for,” he says. “SU has this unique way of offering all the amenities and perks of a large university while maintaining a relatively quaint and small-town vibe.”

Justin completed an associate’s degree in general studies, focusing in chemistry, at the University of Maryland. After serving for 10 years in the United States Air Force, Justin decided to pursue further education at Syracuse. “Nutrition has always been a strong interest of mine; however, it wasn’t until I started at Syracuse that I found my passion for nutritional biochemistry,” says Justin. “Learning how the body skillfully interacts with ingested foods to optimize the performance of every cell is truly fascinating.”

In a Nutrition Research course with Dr. Dayeon Shin studying nutrition-applied scientific research methods, he was captivated. “It was the key that unlocked my academic passions. Combining curiosity, nutrition, and science into a systemic process, as nerdy as that may sound, was like music to my soul.”

But nutrition isn’t just about science. Over the summer, Justin visited Italy to tour the Tuscan countryside as part of the Mediterranean Food and Culture course offered at SU Florence led by Tanya Horacek, professor of nutrition. “We lived on working farms, which are pretty much bed and breakfasts with spectacular views, learned the traditional ways of pasta, pizza, and wine making, and toured cities such as Pisa and Florence,” Although Justin has travelled to 22 different countries, one of his more relaxing hobbies is cooking and hosting dinner for friends and family. The trip was a perfect fit. “It was an amazing experience.”

Back on campus, you can find Justin giving tours of campus and answering questions for visiting prospective students as a Falk College Ambassador. He’s also a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. The McNair Scholars Program serves undergraduate students from underrepresented populations to support active student research and preparation for graduate or doctoral study.

“To put it simply, being at Syracuse is like being home,” he says. “Being in the military for 10 years, I’ve traveled a lot, had to live in many different places, and met many different people; however, I never felt like I truly belonged the way I do at SU.”

With support from University staff and advisors, Justin came to Syracuse and found it to be a place where he could discover his own interests, envision his goals, and create an experience to achieve them. “I started out this journey here slightly intimated and a bit fearful not knowing exactly what I wanted to do with the degree, or even if my major was the right one for me. However, my interests and passions have evolved semester after semester and I feel that I’m really heading down the path I was destined to be on.”

“I think that’s what it means to ‘Be Orange’: to pave the way for those coming behind us, to create opportunity and invoke inspiration, and to leave a place better than we found it,” he says.

Justin plans to continue his academic career through a Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry researching nutrition immunology, and to someday work for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in the nutrition biochemistry lab.

Latest nutrition newsletter now available online


Cover of Nutrition@Syracuse Fall 2018From the latest news and events in the Nutrition program to highlights of student and faculty projects, read the latest edition of Nutrition News covering the nutrition, nutrition science and dietetics programs in Syracuse University’s Falk College.

Click on the link below to download a PDF copy of the most recent newsletter or view an accessible, text-based version of the Newsletter.

Fall 2018 (PDF)

Falk announces Graduate Merit Scholarships for Syracuse University students


Syracuse University Students at CommencementFalk College is pleased to announce the Falk College Merit Award Scholarship for current Syracuse University students interested in applying for a Falk College master’s degree.

Incentives include no application fee, GRE waiver where applicable, and a 25% tuition discount incentive, which is applied after any other scholarships, scholarship credits, assistantships, and remitted tuition credits are applied.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be a current Syracuse University student in good standing with an overall GPA of 3.4 or higher applying for part-time or full-time study in one of the following degree programs:

Interested students must contact Falk Admissions and submit their application by February 15. Successful applicants will be officially admitted by the academic department and must formally matriculate for a 2019-2020 term.

“Falk College graduate degree programs allow undergraduates of all majors to tailor and enhance their career opportunities,” says Falk College director of admissions, Felicia Otero. “For example, bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology pair especially well with a master’s degree in social work (MSW), marriage and family therapy (MFT), or the SWK-MFT dual program, as well as human development and family science, public health, and global health.

“Undergraduates studying business, management, advertising, and public relations can apply their skills directly to our sport venue and event management master’s program. Students with skills in these disciplines might also apply to public health, global health, and food studies master’s programs, alongside students with bachelor’s degrees in communication & rhetorical studies, English, advertising, and education,” Otero continues. “Undergraduates in biology and chemistry programs often pursue graduate study in nutrition science, as well as public health and global health programs at Falk.”

“Falk graduate degrees lead to a variety of careers and end-credentials,” says Deborah Golia, assistant director of admissions at Falk College. “You’ll find Falk alumni working as counselors, therapists, social workers, community advocates, community educators, public health specialists, nonprofit program directors, managers, nutritionists, dietitians, sustainability program educators, and in limitless other roles.”

“Falk College graduate degrees also lead to research professions and continued study in doctoral programs,” she adds.

Falk Admissions will host a Graduate Information Session on Friday, November 2 in Falk Complex, White Hall, Room 335 at 4:00 p.m. In addition to review of Falk graduate programs, interested students can learn more about Falk Graduate Scholarships. For more information, please contact the Falk College Office of Admissions at 315.443.5555 or email

Syracuse elementary students have a taste of Puerto Rico

Student Elizabeth Gardner with students from an elementary school
Elizabeth Gardner ’20 (right) leads a Books & Cooks lesson plan at Dr. Weeks Elementary School, where students learned about the culture and cuisine of Puerto Rico.

This spring, fifth grade students at Dr. Weeks Elementary School had a taste of culture and cuisine from Australia, England, New Zealand, Cuba, Iceland, and Puerto Rico with the help of Falk College nutrition students and the Books & Cooks program.

Syracuse University students in the Books & Cooks program introduce local elementary students to cultures around the world through hands-on nutrition lessons that foster literacy and healthy eating. It is housed in the Mary Ann Shaw Center, which brings together Syracuse University faculty, staff, and students in civic service.

In a lesson at Dr. Weeks, students measured and mixed pre-cut fruit, vegetables, and other ingredients to make a delicious Pico de Gallo recipe, a popular snack in Puerto Rico. Nutrition major Elizabeth Gardner ’20, who led the activity, shared that the nutrients from the tomatoes in Pico de Gallo helps people fight off illness.

This past year, Gardner served as the nutrition volunteer coordinator for Books & Cooks and was responsible for recruiting and training volunteers, as well as designing and delivering lesson plans. “By working with Books & Cooks, I came to appreciate the concept of only understanding something when you are able to explain it to someone else. Something I try to impress on my volunteers is to reflect on the way that the experience in the classroom affected them, because the way that we all interact with the students now is teaching us skills that we may use to interact with clients in dietetic counseling.”

The students at Dr. Weeks also learned topics such as MyPlate, which teaches the basics of food groups and healthy portions, as well as food safety and why it’s important to have clean cooking surfaces, clean hands, and wear gloves while preparing food.

“The students at Dr. Weeks love the Books and Cooks program, so much that other fifth grade classes are asking to participate,” says Dr. Tanya Horacek, undergraduate program director for nutrition and the Books & Cooks faculty mentor. “Elizabeth is an effective leader with her peers and facilitates each class session with ease,” she adds.

Gardner started as a volunteer with Books & Cooks in the fall of her freshman year and plans to continue until she graduates. “Through the program, I have learned that volunteering is truly a two-sided experience. Just as much as we positively affect the students we work with, they positively affect us.”

Gardner decided she wanted to become a nutritionist in high school. When it came time to pick a college, “all roads led to Syracuse,” she says. “I wanted a school that exuded pride. From students to faculty to alumni, the orange network is extensive and loud. Falk College offered a nutrition program that now has more than 100 years of existence, hands on teaching, and ample opportunity to become involved in undergraduate research.”

Upon graduation, Gardner plans to work in nutrition-related policy. “I hope to work within the realm of nutrition policy and help address demographic factors that contribute to health disparities.”

Tanya Zuckerbrot speaks at Syracuse University April 9


Tanya Zuckerbrot portraitRegistered dietitian, author Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, will speak at Syracuse University on April 9, 6:00 p.m., in Falk 100, with a reception taking place starting at 5:00 p.m. Sponsored by Falk College’s Nutrition Education and Promotion Association (NEPA), a student-run organization that brings together Syracuse University students interested in nutrition and encourages them to share that interest with the surrounding campus and community, the event is free and open to the public. Zuckerbrot is the author of the book, The F-Factor Diet.

View the event page

Nutrition program hosts Emme for distinguished lecture


Emme posed with Falk College facultyOn February 28, Falk College and its nutrition program hosted supermodel and body image advocate, Emme ’85, for the Third Annual Ann Litt Distinguished Speaker Series. Coinciding with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, her presentation, entitled “Facing our fears: Embracing the ones we’re with,” was followed by a reception and book signing of her newest book, Chicken Soup For The Soul Curvy and Confident: 101 Stories of Loving Yourself and Your Body. Guests were also treated to a “Fashion Without Limits (FWL) Pop-Up Show” with designs created by Syracuse University fashion students as part of the FWL initiative.

An alumna of Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), Emme is the iconic world’s first curvy supermodel. A TV personality, model, mom, author, brand spokesperson, creative director of her clothing lines, cancer survivor, lecturer, and globally recognized women’s advocate for positive body image and self-esteem, she is the first model invited to speak before a Congressional subcommittee in Washington, D.C. with a mission to increase public awareness of eating and body image disorders.

Speaking to the audience in Falk College’s Grant Auditorium, Emme discussed the realities of eating disorders, noting that the fashion industry plays a role in promoting eating disorders but can also be part of the solution by using a diversity of ‘real’ models and making clothes for all sizes. She spoke on the importance of the partnership between medical and nutrition professionals. When Nutrition Professor Tanya Horacek posed the question about advice for nutrition students, Emme urged them to go into doctors’ offices explaining the critical need to partner with dietetics professionals to help patients eat well for good health. She also encouraged partnerships with local community supported agriculture (CSA) farms, noting that “there are simple things that can make our life better.”

Of Emme’s messages, Mariana Serback, a second-year nutrition science graduate student, shared that “her presentation was very refreshing. Our bodies do so much for us when we’re not even thinking about it: our lungs are breathing, hearts are pumping, brains are thinking, and sometimes it is such a shame that some people don’t appreciate and love their bodies and all that they do for us. I hope that I can one day be an extension of Emme’s voice and message as a registered dietitian.”

A screening of the documentary “Straight/Curve: Redefining Body Image” with Emme took place on February 27 in collaboration with VPA. “Straight/Curve,” which features Emme and other successful, diverse models, aims to create a healthier dialogue around body “size” and image and educate people on health and representation while capturing a visual slice of life of the fashion industry. The filmmakers interviewed students and faculty in VPA’s School of Design, which partnered with Emme to launch the FWL initiative in 2014. FWL promotes the creation of size 12+ designs in the junior year; students use dress forms in size 16, 18, and 20 donated by Wolf Form Co. exclusively for Emme and FWL.
“Syracuse University’s design program is taking the lead on training its students to design beautiful clothes for everyone,” notes Professor Horacek. She adds, “as consumers, we can help to reduce and prevent eating disorders by taking care of ourselves and challenging societal messages and norms.”

The Litt Distinguished Speaker Series is named after Falk nutrition alumna, Ann Selkowitz Litt ’75, a nationally known nutritionist who helped children and adolescents with eating disorders and assisted developing athletes in reaching their full potential. The nutrition consultant to CosmoGirl magazine, Litt was the author of The College Students’ Guide to Eating Well on Campus, Fuel for Young Athletes, and the ADA Guide to Private Practice. She was the nutritionist for the NFL’s Washington Redskins and served as spokesperson for several media campaigns, including the Got Milk campaign. After her death, the Ann. S. Litt Foundation, Inc. was created to support nutrition education.

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