Explore Nutritional Sciences

The Nutritional Sciences program is designed to provide science-based preparation for careers in nutrition or food science research, graduate school and  professional programs such as medicine, physician assistant, physical therapy or dentistry.

Pre-professional students should meet with their advisor to check requirements of specific post-degree program. The program includes:

  • A food laboratory where students design and carry out food research.
  • Personalized instruction in small classes.
  • A Natural Science Minor with successful completion of coursework 

Student Success

Research Day

Megan Martell

Megan Martell earned her degree in Nutritional Sciences at Madonna University. Since graduating she studied in Denmark and has worked in food product development for Dannon, Gerber, and Hain-Celestial. Currently, she works in product development for a Medical Grade Manuka Honey company in New Zealand.  Her job includes analyzing scientific research, meeting international labeling regulations, creating marketing content, defining production requirements, and developing new products. She coordinates clinical research partnerships to study the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of this honey as a topical medicine, and aims to investigate the application of this honey as a functional food. 

Career Paths to Explore

The Nutritional Sciences Degree prepares students for a variety of careers with food companies (product promotion, research), with health advocacy groups, in public health nutrition (university extension, WIC), and as food and health media specialists. Students can combine this major with pre-professional coursework needed to pursue graduate programs in medicine, physical therapy or to become physician assistants.

Student Groups

Nutrition Network

Meet other students a special interest in nutrition.  As part of the Nutrition Network you can help create on campus events such as Food Day, assist community partners such as Cooking Matters, attend conferences and host guest speakers from a variety of food and nutrition career fields. 

Honor Society

Get recognized for your achievements, boost your resume or internship application, network and develop your leadership skills. Sigma Zeta is an honor society for undergraduate students with high GPAs in science and math, including Nutritional Sciences majors. Ask your advisor for more details.
Student research poster


Students design and present independent research under the direction of qualified faculty members.



Become an expert in science-based nutrition and understand the role of food in health as your prepare for a career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

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Graduate Program: MS Nutrition and Dietetics

Work toward a career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) by gaining advanced knowledge in many areas of nutrition and gaining skills in creating nutrition plans and educating clients of diverse backgrounds.

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Graduate Program: MS Nutrition and Wellness

Gain experience investigating current nutritional issues related to behavior modification, obesity and chronic disease, end of life care, and sustainability.  Complete a capstone research project under the guidance of qualified faculty. 

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Faculty Bios

Karen Schmitz, Ph.D., R.D.N.
Department Chair, Nutrition and Dietetics

Ph.D. Michigan State University

M.S. Iowa State University

B.S. University of Iowa

Dietetic Internship, University of Michigan School of Public Health



Franciscan Center S217-U

Karen Schmitz, Ph.D., R.D.N.

Dr. Schmitz is a former Peace Corps volunteer who became interested in the field of nutrition while working as a high school science teacher in Lesotho, Africa. She is a Registered Dietitian who has worked in the areas of research, nutrition education and nutritional counseling. She enjoys teaching courses in Nutrition Assessment, Medical Nutrition Therapy, Advanced Human Nutrition and Experimental Foods and Research.

Karen has been active in many professional associations related to nutrition and dietetics, most recently serving as an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Position Paper editor and on the board of the Southeastern Michigan Dietetics Association. She has served as a reviewer for several nutrition textbooks and on advisory boards for dietetic internships. Her recent research includes collaborating with nursing faculty on the project titled, "Teaching Nutrition Screening and Assessment of the Geriatric Patient: An Inter-professional Approach."

In addition, she has worked with many students on research projects related to fat replacers, sugar substitutes, oil absorption and consumer acceptability of food products. Several of these students have presented their research and won awards at the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference.

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Laura Kull, M.S., R.D.N., FAND
Program Director, Nutrition and Dietetics
Assistant Professor

M.S. University of Michigan

B.S. Michigan State University

Dietetic Internship, University of Michigan School of Public Health



Academic Building 1502A

Laura Kull, M.S., R.D.N., FAND

Laura Freeland Kull is the Director of the Undergraduate Programs in Nutrition and Dietetics. She began teaching at Madonna University as an adjunct faculty member in 1997 and joined as full-time faculty and director in 2008.  Her interests include food system sustainability, public health nutrition, food insecurity, public policy, and life span nutrition.  Laura also serves as the faculty advisor for the Nutrition Network Student Organization. 

Laura has worked in clinical nutrition specializing in nutrition support in the long-term care population. She has served in many leadership positions in Dietetics Associations, including President of the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is the recipient of multiple awards including the Michigan Dietetic Association’s Outstanding Educator, the Michigan Dietetic Association’s Registered Dietitian of the Year, The Michigan Dietetic Association Award, the Southeastern Michigan Association Distinguished Service Award and the Volunteer of the Year for the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center. 

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Tina Miller M.S., R.D.N., FAND
Program Director
Assistant Professor

M.S. Eastern Michigan University 

B.S. Madonna University

Dietetic Internship, DMC



Franciscan Center 217-P

Tina Miller M.S., R.D.N., FAND

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Dana Wawrzyniec M.S.
Adjunct Assistant Professor

M.S. Michigan State University 

B.S. Madonna University


Dana Wawrzyniec M.S.

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SusanO Headshot

Susan Okonkowski MPH, R.D.N.
Adjunct Assistant Professor

MPH University of Michigan

B.S. University of Wisconsin-Stout

Dietetic Internship Iowa State University


Susan Okonkowski MPH, R.D.N.

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