SNIP - Where Are They Now?

Nicole Alai

I completed my SNIP from 2019-2020 at the United States Olympic Paralympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colorado. My mentor was Rob Skinner, the Senior Sports Dietitian for acrobat and combat sports. During my time, I learned how to manipulate specific macronutrients at dedicated time intervals to optimize performance while concurrently assisting with a safe weight descent for combat athletes. I was able to utilize ISAK anthropometry measurements to track changes in body composition and make adjustments in nutrition to achieve a healthy weight for that specific athlete in order to optimize training performance and recovery. The nutrition education and skills I obtained at the USOPC set the foundation for my current job as the Performance Nutrition Coordinator at the UFCPI. My workflow on a day to day basis is always changing, but it generally consists of a wide spectrum of responsibilities. These include in-house and remote consultations with fighters all around the world, performing nutrition diagnostics using the metabolic cart and DEXA for RMR, MET and body composition analysis, ordering athlete meals both on campus and coordinating Trifecta meal deliveries for athletes outside of Las Vegas, pre-/post-training fueling recommendations via the fueling station, supplementation education, fight week athlete meal development, administering of the rehydration beverages post-weigh in, and so much more. Honestly, there is a night and day difference working with combat athletes as compared to other athletes. At the end of the day the fighter or combat athlete has to make weight in order to compete. As one of the performance dietitians, I have a responsibility to help the fighter descend (longer term) and cut weight (short term) as safely as possible while also optimize performance and recovery. My experiences working as a SNIP with combat sports was invaluable because it provided an environment where I was able to learn a lot and apply that directly with the athletes under the guidance of a tenured sports dietitian.

Nicole Alai
Performance Nutrition Coordinator
UFC Performance Institute
2019-2020 SNIP with the United States Olympic Paralympic Committee

Jackie N. Barcal

I completed my SNIP experience in the fall of 2013 at the University of Alabama under Amy Bragg. Prior to Alabama, I had no collegiate sports nutrition experience. The SNIP provided me hands on experience working with athletes and Amy gave me the freedom to manage the sports and allowed me to learn and grow through my mistakes. The SNIP provided me the opportunity to work with other dietetic students, athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, and sport coaches. I learned that success as a sports RD means learning how to effectively communicate with the entire interdisciplinary team to best meet the athlete’s needs. It also taught me how to transfer what I learned during my undergrad and DI to an applied setting.

After the SNIP, I accepted a position as a sports nutrition graduate assistant at the University of Wyoming where I also functioned as the dietitian within athletics. I oversaw the training table for the football team and sideline fueling during games, helped design and manage a new fueling station, and worked with all Olympic sport teams. I often reflected back on how things were done at Alabama and what concepts could be integrated into the Wyoming athletic department.

Immediately upon defending my master’s thesis at Wyoming, I entered my current role as the Head of Nutrition at IMG Academy. Although I had never been a manager of a department or led a full-time staff, I was not afraid to take on a new challenge. Both Alabama and Wyoming taught me to get out of my comfort zone, try new things, and to learn from my mistakes.

Jackie N. Barcal, MS, RD, CSSD, LD
Head of Nutrition at IMG Academy
2013-14 SNIP with University of Alabama

Taylor Barros

I was a part of the 2017-2018 Gatorade SNIP Fellowship group under Brett Singer and Christina King at Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute in Houston, Texas. Being a SNIP was the most valuable and rewarding experience I have had in sports nutrition. After my fellowship ended I was offered a position as a Nutrition Coach at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. I am currently one of three full-time dietitians here. We have 8 sports at the Academy with over 1,200 student athletes. In addition, we have post-grad athletes, campers, professional athletes/teams, collegiate teams, corporate events, and combine happening all throughout the year where we provide individual education as well as group education. Being an IMG Academy dietitian would not have been possible without the CPSDA/Gatorade SNIP Fellowship. It has opened many doors for me and has taught me the most valuable lesson as a dietitian…never stop learning.

Taylor Barros RD, LD
Nutrition Coach; Athletic & Personal Development at IMG Academy
2017-18 SNIP with Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute

Julia Bell

I cannot explain how thankful I am for the SNIP experience and all it gave me. Through being guided by my mentor, Colleen Davis, I was able to gain the confidence and knowledge necessary to help guide athletes, both on an individual and team level, on how to fuel for optimal performance. There’s not a doubt in my mind that the experiences gained during my SNIP at the University of Maryland helped me grow professionally and prepared me for my next step in my journey as a sports dietitian. The SNIP was a hands-on learning experience that greatly benefited me for my future career and I would definitely recommend it for any aspiring sports dietitian. After completing my SNIP, I was hired as a performance dietitian for INOVA sports performance powered by EXOS. In my current role, I am responsible for the fueling, education, and counseling of all the athletes who train at our facility. Since being hired, I have had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of athletes including; current, free agent and retired NFL, MLB, tactical, military, and high school athletes, as well as, general population adults. Currently, I also work with a local high school football team, DeMatha, where I apply sports nutrition team-based strategies. Through being partnered with a health care system and working with the orthopedic doctors, I guide injured athletes on nutritional approaches to help them recover and get back to their sport. Furthermore, I am always developing new ways to engage and connect with the athletes I work with through educational presentations, food demonstrations, and fostering relationships. I look forward to continuing to help athletes learn how to fuel with a purpose while facilitating the knowledge and motivation necessary in order for them to reach their goals throughout my career.

Julia Bell MS, RD, LDN
Performance Dietitian at Inova Sports performance powered by EXOS
2016-17 SNIP with University of Maryland

Stephanie Coppola

I can’t say enough of how appreciative I am for the Gatorade SNIP program. I was a part of the 2018-2019 program and I literally wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for this opportunity. I was selected to be the fellow for the Philadelphia Eagles that year under the mentorship of Mike Minnis. Throughout my 8-month internship, I gained a great deal of confidence being a RD while still having Mike to lean on and learn from. Towards the end of my internship, neither the organization nor I was ready to part ways. Mike, along with the support of other staff members, figured out a way to allow me to stay for 3 more months as an intern through the organization. However, about 3 weeks later, I got the great news of being asked to stay on as a full time second RD. I am now on my second season as full time and third total with the team. I couldn’t have been happier to have this opportunity given to me and it wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t start off as a Gatorade SNIP showing my hard work and dedication.

Stephanie Coppola, MS, RD
Performance Nutrition Assistant
Philadelphia Eagles
2018-2019 SNIP with the Philadelphia Eagles

Jennifer Hamlin

My journey since completing the SNIP program has been nothing short of incredible. I completed my fellowship at the University of Mississippi and was immediately hired by the University of Missouri upon completion. Wanting to branch out a bit, I took a leap of faith and switched gears to work in the tactical field of sports nutrition with the Special Operations Forces Army Green Berets. I began working at one unit in Tennessee and currently work at a different unit at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Every move has been a wonderful step down the path of sports nutrition. My SNIP experience was the catapult to this series of career moves that have continuously pushed me to serve as a better dietitian in incredible elite settings. The mentorship, networking, and level of support is unprecedented in any other program that I am aware of. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and the mentors I have had along the way, both in and outside of Gatorade and CPSDA.

Jennifer Hamlin, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS
FSR- Contractor THOR3 Performance Dietitian - United States Army Special Forces
2014-15 SNIP with University of Mississippi

Grant Harris

I was the 2017 SNIP Fellow at University of Michigan under Director Caroline Mandel, MS RD CSSD. Since my time as a SNIP I have been getting as much experience as possible in different parts of professional sports. Immediately after my SNIP I was able to work as a Sous Chef/Performance Nutrition Intern under Kate Moran, RD LDN during Spring Training for the Minnesota Twins. It was a whirlwind of several weeks where I learned a lot about the MLB and how to fuel these elite athletes. In April 2018 I joined Scott Sehnert, MS RD CSSD and the Dallas Cowboys as the Performance Dietitian Intern. I started in April and worked off-season and into the regular season with the team, getting to know the players and what it takes to be an NFL dietitian. I have been so fortunate with my mentors these past few years and look forward to learning and growing even more for years to come. I joined the Cleveland Indians Baseball organization in Feb 2019 as the Minor League Nutrition Coordinator. Also, fortunate enough to act as MLB dietitian during the 2020 season to implement COVID protocols at home and on the road.

Grant Harris, MS, RD
Performance Nutrition Intern – Dallas Cowboys
2017-18 SNIP with University of Michigan

Jessica Hylander

I completed my SNIP fellowship in May of 2019 at the University of Florida. My time as a Gator played a huge part in who I am as a professional today. The learning experience allowed me to gain valuable skills in counseling, nutrition education, interdisciplinary collaboration, and really allowed me to find my footing within the sports nutrition field as well as help me determine what kind of professional I wanted to be. My experience as a SNIP prepared and led me to the position I now hold at Texas Christian University. At TCU I am the primary dietitian for five teams, assist the director in administrative responsibilities, sit on the athletic department’s Wellness Committee, and I have even had the opportunity to develop an official dietetic internship rotation and serve as the site preceptor. Being a SNIP fellow was an immense privilege and set an amazing foundation for my career. Not only was I given the chance of a lifetime but, I was also given a network of people that I can turn to for support. I would highly encourage any seeking mentor or young professional to get involved in this amazing network!

Jessica Hylander MBA, RD, LDN
Sports Nutrition Graduate Assistant at Texas Christian University
2018-19 SNIP with The University of Florida

Alyson Leduc

The Gatorade SNIP fellowship was the turning point in my career, as it opened the door for me to become a collegiate sports dietitian. Prior to being a SNIP fellow, I was a dietitian working in various outpatient settings (corporate wellness, weight loss research study, home visits, college and community wellness program), but every time I worked with an athlete, my passion to pursue sports nutrition continued to grow. I liked my job at the time, but I didn't love my job. It came time for me to change gears and do what I needed to do to get hands on experience in sports nutrition. I applied to the SNIP fellowship and got the offer from Virginia Tech.
My experience at Virginia Tech was extremely valuable to building my sports nutrition knowledge and skills, acknowledging and working on my weaknesses, knowing my strengths, and building my confidence. After years of wanting to be a sports dietitian, the SNIP fellowship reassured me that I was meant to be a dietitian in this setting. After my fellowship, I got an offer to be the Assistant Sports Dietitian at Duke University to join Beth Miller, Director of Sports Nutrition, in building Duke's first Sports Nutrition Department. Without the SNIP fellowship, I would have not been prepared to work with 14 sports, enhance training table, interact with coaches and athletic staff, create nutrition policies, develop team talk programs, and understand the fueling needs of student athletes. The SNIP program also significantly grew my network with sports dietitians, developed mentors to always reach out to for guidance, and formed a solid connection within the CPSDA community. I will be forever grateful for my SNIP fellowship and always encourage nutrition students, dietetic interns, and dietitians wanting to get into sports nutrition to apply for such a valuable experience.

Alyson Leduc MS, RD, CSSD, LD
Assistant Sports Dietitian at Duke University
2016-17 with Virginia Tech

Katie LeMair

I completed my SNIP Fellowship at the University of Texas in 2017-2018, under the mentorship of Katie McInnis and Amy Culp. At Texas I had the opportunity to learn what it takes to be a part of a successful performance nutrition department providing the highest level of nutrition care. Upon completion of my SNIP fellowship in May 2018, I accepted a position at Kansas State University as their Assistant Sports Dietitian, where I continue to work today. In my role at K-State I am responsible for all nutrition care/counseling/education for 6 of our Olympic teams in addition to management of our student intern program. Whether it’s talking to one of my head coaches, counseling a student athlete, or determining how to provide something sustainable for my teams, I often lean on the lessons learned during my SNIP experience to guide me. I am incredibly thankful for my SNIP experience as it helped provide the professional and personal growth necessary for me to succeed in my current role here at K-State.

Katie LeMair, MS, RD, LD
Assistant Sports Dietitian
K-State Athletics
2017-2018 SNIP with the University of Texas

Becky Lindberg

I was part of SNIP Year 2 with placement at Indiana University with Amy Freel. Once I completed my five months at IU, I left with the skill set to be successful as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech. After completing my masters, I was selected at the Coordinator of Sports Nutrition at University of Louisville in 2016. Without my SNIP experience, I would have not been as successful at Virginia Tech and Louisville as I am now. The program showed me the grind of athletics and how each sport has their own culture. Now as I manage my teams, I rely on ideas that Amy taught me back in 2014. It is wonderful to see the SNIP fellowship grow in size and duration at different host sites. This experience has helped shape me as a dietitian and I hope all future SNIPs learn as much as I did.

Becky Lindberg, RD, MAEd, LDN, CSSD
Coordinator of Sports Nutrition, University of Louisville
2014-15 SNIP with Indiana University

Lauren Marucci

I was a SNIP fellow at the Chicago Bears for the 2016-2017 season. I absolutely loved the program. Going into the SNIP fellowship with the Chicago Bears, I didn't realize exactly how beneficial the program was going to be. I learned so much under Jennifer Gibson that I use every single day as an assistant sports dietitian at LSU. Along with an unforgettable experience, I created many relationships with other fellows and mentors in my class. To this day, Jenn and my fellow "classmates" from the 2016 SNIP class are a great support network for me. The SNIP was a hands-on learning experience that greatly benefited me for my future career and I would definitely recommend it for any aspiring sports dietitian

Lauren Marucci, MS, RD, CSCS
Assistant Sports Dietitian at Louisiana State University
2016-27 SNIP with Chicago Bears

Jordan Mazur

My SNIP experience was with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016.  It was a great opportunity to see how nutrition and sports science is applied at the highest level.  Without having much applied experience coming out of my master/dietetic internship, especially in a football setting prior to arriving in Philadelphia, I was really looking forward to the opportunity to learn and grow.  Throughout my time in Philadelphia I learned numerous skills that I would have otherwise missed out if I only tried to use what I learned in a classroom.  After my SNIP opportunity in Philadelphia finished, it set me up and prepared me for a full-time position and I accepted the first Director of Sports Nutrition for UC Berkeley athletics.  While I was there I was able to set a foundation for a sports nutrition program in a collegiate setting using all of my past experiences and education.  After a year in my position, I accepted the first full-time sports dietitian position with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers where I am currently going into my second season.  The opportunity through the SNIP and Gatorade gave me the experience and resume skills to be successful in my career and gave me an opportunity that was career changing.

Jordan Mazur MS, RD
Coordinator of Nutrition at San Francisco 49ers
2015-16 SNIP with Philadelphia Eagles

Samantha Mellert

After completing my SNIP fellowship with Texas A&M University, I became the Director of Performance Nutrition at Appalachian State University. The mentorship that I received from Jon Tanguay and his staff, without a doubt, prepared me for my current role and I was able to bring much of what I had learned at Texas A&M to the program here at App State. Since the director’s role at App State is still relatively new, I have been able to come in and continue to build the program the way I envision it with much buy-in from the administration and teams. Now in my second year, I continue to grow in my role and maintain many connections that were formed through my SNIP experience. I cannot recommend this program or the CPSDA organization enough to anyone who is interested in entering the sports nutrition field!

Samantha Mellert | MS RD LDN
Director of Performance Nutrition
Appalachian State University
2018-2019 SNIP with Texas A&M

Samantha Partida

I completed the Gatorade Sports Nutrition Immersion fellowship in 2019 at North Carolina State University. My path to a career to sports nutrition was not linear. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to sports nutrition as an undergraduate at the University of Texas during my dietetic internship. At that time, I did not think that there would be a job for me in sports, so I decided to pursue other options. I worked as a clinical dietitian for a few years before deciding to go back to school. I attended Lipscomb University and got a Master of Science degree in exercise and nutrition science while working full-time during the day. From that point on, I knew I wanted to work in sports, so I applied to the SNIP fellowship and have never looked back.

The Gatorade SNIP fellowship provided me with invaluable experience in sports nutrition for the first time as a dietitian. I was able to use the clinical skills I had developed and apply them to athletes while building the sports nutrition knowledge and expertise needed to be a competent sports dietitian. The fellowship gave me an opportunity to learn how the field of sports nutrition operated, taught me the importance of developing relationships with performance staff, and showed me the potential of sports nutrition. The SNIP fellowship experience turned into a full-time job at NC State University before I joined the Texas Performance Nutrition staff in March 2020.

Samantha Partida, MS, RD, CSSD, LD
Assistant Sports Dietitian at the University of Texas
2018-2019 SNIP with North Carolina State University

Sophie Pomrehn

I finished my SNIP at Stanford University June 2017 and then began my full-time position at the University of Nebraska as an Assistant Director of Performance Nutrition. Throughout my time at Nebraska I served as the sports dietitian for the football team and various Olympic sports. I completed nutrition education and counseling, along with collaborated with performance and sports medicine staff to provide optimal nutrition services to teams. My SNIP experience showed me the breadth of responsibilities a sports dietitian has and how to prioritize those duties. Kristen Gravani, Director of Sports Nutrition at Stanford University, taught me the intricacies of building a department and how to advocate for sports nutrition effectively, a skill essential to my current role. I am now the Director of Sports Nutrition for Football at the University of Wyoming. Along with my duties working with the Wyoming football team I also oversee the new Training Table; working closely with the Executive Chef in menu planning and service.

Sophie Pomrehn, MS, RD, LMNT
Director of Sports Nutrition – Football at University of Wyoming
2016-17 SNIP with Stanford University

Callie Roseland

I was thrilled to work with Kate Burks and be selected as a 2018-2019 SNIP with the US Army Special Forces. Before the SNIP, I had zero knowledge of performance nutrition within a tactical setting. This program challenged me on a personal and professional level, ultimately creating a launching pad for my own career as a performance dietitian. Learning to navigate the dynamics of the military within a multidisciplinary human performance team helped me think outside the box while using the foundations of sports nutrition. Humility when asking questions to better serve my population and building relationships with other professionals are two key takeaways I still value in my current role. I was fortunate to be offered a position at the end of my fellowship with another Special Operations unit where I have continued refining my skillset as a performance dietitian contractor.

Callie Roseland MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, ACSM EP-C
Performance Dietitian-Contractor
North Carolina
2018-2019 SNIP with US Army Special Forces

Lauren Simmons Solomon

I completed my fellowship at Purdue University with Lauren Link. At the beginning, very clear expectations were set between myself and my mentor in terms of the goals and experiences I wished to gain during my time as a SNIP fellow. My mentor was deliberate in making sure that I got the chance to not only achieve those original goals and gain all of the experiences I wanted, but she also allowed me the freedom to really make my mark on the program. Within a couple months of being immersed into Purdue’s highly-functioning sports nutrition program, I was given full autonomy to make decisions for my teams and operated like a full-time sports dietitian. The Sports Nutrition Immersion Program, through the guidance provided and the relationships and networks created, gave me the mentorship, capability, and confidence needed to propel my career to the next level. None of it was easy, but all of it was worth it! I am now a Sports Performance Dietitian at my alma mater, Indiana University! Because of my SNIP experience, I was easily able to transition into this new role with a lot of momentum. As a sports RD here at IU, I am responsible for counseling and educating 9 teams, creating and disseminating educational nutrition handouts, planning cooking demos and grocery store tours, monitoring meals in our athlete dining facility, and managing our social media account. The SNIP not only taught me how to juggle all of these tasks, but it taught me how to execute things with intent and in a timely manner. On a daily basis, I use the skills and advice I received from my SNIP mentor – whether it’s how to effectively counsel athletes, how to communicate with a difficult coach, or even how to create and implement policies and procedures. I feel fully assured and adept of making my mark on the performance nutrition department here at Indiana University.

Lauren Simmons Solomon, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS
Sports Performance Dietitian at Indiana University
2017-18 SNIP with Purdue University

Auburn Weisensale

I completed my SNIP experience in 2016 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana under Amy Freel.  Throughout my SNIP I was able to take ownership of my teams and be creative with the nutrition education I planned for teams. I got a lot of great hands-on experience with counseling, team educations, fueling station management, body composition assessment and interpretation, travel nutrition and meal coordination, and the importance of developing relationships with the interdisciplinary team (sports medicine, strength and conditioning, sports psychology, coaches, etc.). It gave me the confidence to take the next steps in my career as a sports dietitian.

As the Director of Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh since fall of 2016, I have been building the nutrition program from the ground up. Every semester we look for something to grow or improve upon in our program to be more impactful to our student-athletes.

Auburn Weisensale, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN
Director of Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh
2015-2016 SNIP with Indiana University

Emma Willingham

I was fortunate to complete my SNIP at Northwestern University under the mentorship of Katie Knappenberger and Christina Weidman. The fellowship was the perfect role to learn and grow as I quickly made the transition from a student/dietetic intern to a full-time sports dietitian. Katie and Christina made my experience invaluable by teaching me and guiding me, while simultaneously giving me full autonomy to function as a team dietitian in the field at practices and games, and also in the Northwestern Sports Medicine clinic where I conducted individual nutrition consults with student athletes. This led to exponential professional and personal growth. I am so grateful for my SNIP experience and that Katie and Christina continue to be strong mentors!

My SNIP allowed me to greatly expand my sports RD toolbelt and prepare me to be successful in a variety of settings afterwards.  I am now working in an outpatient clinic through the Houston Methodist Hospital system. At the beginning of COVID-19, I started my private practice, Fuel with Emma, through which most of my clients are athletes and I have the opportunity to work on unique projects. I’m also excited to have recently been accepted to a program to earn my PhD in Sports and Exercise Nutrition.  I look forward to continuing to contribute to our awesome field!

Emma Willingham, MS, RD, LD
SNIP 2019-2020 with Northwestern University

Elizabeth Wluka

After I completed SNIP in 2017 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I became the Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Connecticut a few months later. Being the first full time sports dietitian at UConn, I have the unique opportunity to build a sports nutrition program, which has been very rewarding. I learned so much at UNC- Chapel Hill and have been able to implement many things here from completing the SNIP program. I realized at the end of my SNIP that I truly developed my own vision, mission, values and nutrition philosophy, which is pretty powerful now looking back. This passion is now embedded in the sports nutrition program I am building at UConn and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to work these student athletes. Whether you are a dietetic intern, undergrad, graduate student or just volunteering within a sports nutrition department once a week or every day- “ANY experience is GOOD experience” and will be valuable to your success moving forward in this field. Having an open mind and keeping perspective is key to enhancing your knowledge and opening the next door!

Elizabeth Wluka, RDN
Director of Sports Nutrition at University of Connecticut
2016-17 SNIP with University of North Carolina

Sebastian Zorn

My SNIP experience with the Chicago Bears has proved to be invaluable. It was a period of accelerated growth as both a professional and sports dietitian. My SNIP mentor Jenn Gibson gave me many great learning opportunities with close tutelage throughout. The learning facilitated by the program and my mentor have been essential in my first full-time sports RD role at the University of Illinois. The network and connections through SNIP have proven to be a fantastic resource. I would highly recommend the SNIP to anyone looking to learn from highly experienced sports dietitians and take that next step in their career.

Sebastian Zorn, MS, RD, LDN
Team Sports Dietitian at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2017-18 SNIP with the Chicago Bears