Nutrition Education and Outreach

The Nutrition Education and Outreach program explores the intersection of food preparation, nutrition and healthy lifestyles. The program runs in partnership with Dining Services and the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative (MCURC). The program also houses the IFNH Student Ambassadors who support peer-to-peer nutritional education across the university and into the community.
Program Lead: Dr. Peggy Policastro, RDN

Student Ambassadors

The Institution for Food, Nutrition, and Health Student Ambassadors are an integral component of our mission of collective success, interdisciplinarity and community responsibility. Student Ambassadors will be called upon to represent the IFNH at various meetings and events, as well as communicate and market the IFNH to students, stakeholders at Rutgers University, and to the New Jersey community at large. Student Ambassadors will also play a role in assisting with business models of the Institute, such as Harvest. Those selected for the position of Student Ambassador are students at Rutgers University who have demonstrated professionalism and dedication to the interdisciplinary fields of food, nutrition, and health. Each ambassador brings their unique Rutgers student experience to the IFNH as it continues to expand and serve as a state, national and global model for change and success.

Current Ambassadors

Tiffany Calvache

Tiffany Calvache is a second-year student majoring in Molecular Biology/Biochemistry with minors in Nutrition and Korean. Her interest in healthy living began in high school when she found a passion for incorporating fitness and healthy eating into her daily routine. When coming to Rutgers, she wanted to continue her fitness journey and took advantage of the various fitness classes offer by RU Recreation. She is currently a fitness instructor for Les Mills Body Pump where she continues to motivate others to incorporate exercise in their daily lives. Even though her current passion is for fitness and healthy eating, she never forgot about her dream of becoming a pediatrician. She plans on pursuing both a MBA and MD and hopes to initially work in the medical field then eventually the business aspect of the health field. During her spare time, she volunteers at Englewood Hospital and assists with patient care. She is also a peer mentor for the SAS honors program and a LEx Leader for the Leadership and Experiential Learning Department. She believes being in both programs helps with her personal self-growth. She is incredibly grateful and looks forward to the rest of year as an IFNH Student Ambassador and to the research the team will be conducting.

Irene Dib

Irene Dib is a fourth-year student at Rutgers University majoring in Dietetics and minoring in Entrepreneurship. She is currently a student nutritionist for the RU Healthy Dining Team where she educates students about nutrition and conducts research under the supervision of Dr. Peggy Policastro, RDN. In addition to the Healthy Dining Team, Irene works part-time as a fitness assistant for Rutgers Recreation and is also a member of the Nutrition Advocates, which is a division of the Health Outreach, Promotion, and Education at Rutgers. She has a strong passion for fitness and nutrition and believes that the two go hand in hand. She has presented research at the Aresty Research Symposium and the NJDA Annual meeting and at the Food, Nutrition, Conference, and Expo in Washington, D.C. this past October. Irene volunteers at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in the pediatric nutrition and gastroenterology department and has gained a lot of experience by working closely with the dietitians. In her free time, Irene loves snowboarding, cooking, lifting weights, playing her guitar, and DJing. She is honored to represent the Institute for New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health, and is looking forward to all of the great new experiences to come this year.

Destiny Gregory

Destiny Gregory is a published writer and mentor in her fourth year at Rutgers University. She devotes her studies to Human Resource Management and Sociology with a strong interest in the arts and entertainment industries as well as health and wellness. In addition her position as a Building and Member Services Manager for Rutgers Recreation, she produces content on her personal social media channels consisting of, but not limited to, plant-based recipes as well as affordable plant-based food products for those looking to maintain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Destiny's love for all things strategic but creative brings a broad-range of ideas and perspectives to the table. Aside from her time at the IFNH, she is a member of both the National Honor Society for Leadership and Success as well as Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society. Destiny also serves as a Student Representative on the Leadership Board for the Exercise is Medicine On-Campus (EIM-OC) where she encourages regular exercise in order to prevent and help cope with mental health conditions. On a global-level, Destiny has studied food, nutrition, and health alongside professionals from Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies in Athens and Nafplio, Greece. Destiny brings a go-getter attitude to the IFNH Student Ambassador team; she embodies an 'I can do it' spirit, stemming from years of hard work breaking barriers as a first-generation college student.

Photo: Madeline Holt.

Madeline Holt is a fourth-year student at Rutgers University with a double major in Nutritional Sciences � Dietetics option and French. She hopes to complete a Dietetic Internship and a Master's of Science degree relating to global nutrition. She is currently the Student Director for the RU Healthy Dining team, a joint program of Dining Services and the IFNH, where she manages a team of student nutritionists, educates college-aged peers about nutrition, writes nutrition newsletters for the dining halls, and conducts nutrition-related research under the guidance of Dr. Peggy Policastro, RDN. She has presented nutrition research at the Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium and New Jersey Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting. She has gained valued experience during her time interning and volunteering at University Behavioral Health Center and the New Brunswick Community Farmer's Market. Madeline has studied abroad for a semester in Paris at La Sorbonne Nouvelle, has been on the Rutgers Equestrian Team every year, and has been a member of Kappa Omicron Nu, the National Honor Society for the Human Sciences, since 2017. She was honored with the opportunity to represent the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH) as a student ambassador.

Dana Ikeda

Dana Ikeda is a third-year student at Rutgers University pursuing a major in Nutritional Sciences with a minor in Psychology. She has always been passionate about healthy eating and learning the science behind how certain foods can improve health and wellness. Dana works as a Student Nutritionist on the Rutgers Healthy Dining Team, where she educates students on healthy eating in the dining halls and conducts research under the direction of Dr. Peggy Policastro, RDN. She has presented her research on Dietary Habits of College Students at the Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium and the New Jersey Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual meeting. She was recently inducted into Kappa Omicron Nu, the National Honor Society for the Human Sciences, and hopes to pursue a Dietetic Internship after graduation and become a Registered Dietitian. Dana is honored to have the opportunity to represent the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH) as a student ambassador.

Rochelle Shvartsman

Rochelle Shvartsman is a second-year student at Rutgers University soon to be declaring a major in Public Health, with an interest in Exercise Physiology. She first became interested in Public Health after she was struggling with a psychological disorder. After recovery, she desired to make it her life mission to bring positive change to other people's lives, both mentally and physically. Her interest in Exercise Physiology stemmed from her love for fencing. She has been a competitive fencer for the United States Fencing Association for five years. She travels to competitions regionally and nationally and hopes to make it to the international circuit in the future. After her education at Rutgers University, she hopes to pursue a Master's Degree in Public Health as well as an internship in Exercise Physiology. She looks forward to expanding her skills and knowledge through research process. She is looking forward to building new connections, friendships, experiences, and knowledge as a representative of the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health.

Photo: Caitlin Uriarte.

Caitlin Uriarte is a senior at Rutgers University. She is double majoring in Public Health and Communication. She is in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and the School of Communication and Information She enjoys being an IFNH ambassador because she likes new discoveries especially in the Food Science and Nutrition world. She has helped with Rutgers Day promoting the IFNH, and she has presented at Aresty for the research done with the other IFNH ambassadors. She is really grateful for being an IFNH ambassador because she has met so many people of different major. Caitlin has gained a lot of skills within her role as an ambassador such as improving her public speaking and research based skills. As a public health major, she also has a passion for providing assistance to those who are struggling due to the lack of accessibility to resources on public health issues. In addition to being an IFNH Student Ambassador, Caitlin is part of the Health, Outreach, Promotion, and Education Department as an Alcohol and Other Drug Peer Educator, Sexual Health Advocate, and a SHADES theater member. Caitlin is a Resident Assistant at Jameson A on Cook/Douglass and is part of the Delta Gamma sorority. In her free time, Caitlin loves going to see local bands perform, hiking, going to the beach, hanging out with friends, and being involved. She looks forward to see what is in store for the IFNH Student Ambassador team, the IFNH, and Rutgers.

Photo: Wyatt Walker.

Wyatt Walker is a third year student majoring in Food Science. At a young age, Wyatt developed a passion for intricacies of fine dining and a love for food. Through the years, he has been mentored by Bill Wong, worked in fine dining establishments, and practiced culinary technique for hundreds of hours. Wyatt has worked in a broad range of fields from culinary arts, to tree care and management. Some of Wyatt's past times include drawing and design, skiing, cooking, weight-lifting, and road biking. His very active lifestyle has led him to educate his peers on the importance of regulating a healthy diet and eating in moderation, but to never forget to indulge a little and be happy. Wyatt is thrilled to get to work with all of his peers at the IFNH.

Megan Yuen

Megan Yuen is a senior at Rutgers University majoring in Nutritional Sciences in the Food and Business option and minoring in Environmental and Business Economics. She first became interested in nutrition and business in high school when she worked at a restaurant with a powerful mission statement surrounding clean eating and the use of ethical and sustainable food. Megan is a Student Nutritionist for the Healthy Dining Team where she works with Dr. Peggy Policastro, RDN and other Student Nutritionists. Through this role, she strives to educate the college student population on healthy eating through research, newsletters, and other Dining initiatives. Megan aspires to influence the fast food industry by becoming an entrepreneur and creating a healthy fast food chain restaurant in the United States. Megan is excited to take on the role of Student Director of the Ambassadors to represent the IFNH and gain professional experience in the nutrition and health science fields. Lastly, Megan is a Resident Assistant, a peer leader and mentor to 62 Rutgers students. She loves this job because she is able to help her residents navigate college life and encourages them to be engaged with the University at large.

Photo: Man Zhang.

Man Zhang is currently a fourth year PhD student in the Food Science Department. She has an interdisciplinary background in food science and food economics. Her previous research is published in the peer-reviewed journals, such as Food Hydrocolloids and the China Economic Review. Currently her research interest lies in the obesity epidemic. She works with Dr. Qingrong Huang and Dr. Michael Chikindas to study the influence of nature compounds from citrus peel on human gut microbiota by SHIME (Simulator of Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem). She also researches on personal behaviors related to obesity of preschool children. She appreciates becoming a student ambassador of the Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health. She looks forward to getting more involved in making New Jersey the Heathy State.