Nutrition Science Department Faculty Biographies

Nutrition Faculty 

Rayane AbuSabha

Rayane AbuSabha.JPG

RAYANE ABUSABHA, Ph.D., R.D, Professor, Director, Graduate Program, received her bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and Nutrition from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and her masters and doctoral degrees in Nutrition from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. She completed her dietetics internship at Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA. Her postdoctoral work was in program evaluation and nutrition education and behavior. Before joining Russell Sage, Dr. AbuSabha was the Executive Director of the Health Research Science Board at the New York State Department of Health working in the area of breast cancer research. She also served as a Social Science Research Analyst at the Office of Analysis, Nutrition and Evaluation, Food and Nutrition Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture where she worked on evaluating the WIC and Medicaid Programs.  Finally, as a Research Associate at The Pennsylvania State University, she was involved in a variety of research projects including studying the dietary patterns of older adults, evaluating distance learning media, and applying and evaluating facilitated nutrition education in WIC clinics. Dr. AbuSabha taught nutrition at Penn State for over a decade and provided instruction using traditional and distance-learning formats.  She is widely published in the areas of nutrition education and community nutrition. She has authored articles in many journals including Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Health Education and Behavior, and Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences. She currently serves as the Chair of Area 7 Dietetics Educators for Practitioners Group.  Dr. AbuSabha has received a number of awards including the 2010 Dannon Mid-Career Leadership Award. 

Dr. AbuSabha teaches the lecture courses required for the Dietetic Internship Certificate and coordinates the DI practicum placements and assignments. In addition, she teaches Special Topics in Nutrition NTR 448, and Directed MS Thesis Research NTR 690 and 691.

Eileen FitzPatrick

Nutrition Faculty

EILEEN FITZPATRICK, MPH, RD, Instructor of Nutrition, received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Tufts University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Russell Sage College and completed a dietetic internship at Sage Graduate School. She received a Masters of Public Health from the School of Public Health, University at Albany and is currently completing a Doctorate in Public Health. Her previous work experience includes seven years of biochemical research at the Wadsworth Center for Labs and Research, New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). In addition, she has worked with the Division of Nutrition, NYSDOH, on participant retention in the New York State WIC program; the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, NYSDOH evaluating listeriosis in New York State; and the Obesity Prevention Program, NYSDOH, on improving breastfeeding rates in New York State.  Ms. FitzPatrick is co-author of numerous scientific publications and has presented original research at professional meetings including the New York State WIC Association, the New York State Dietetics Association and the American Public Health Association. Ms. FitzPatrick is a part time faculty in the Nutrition Science Department.  

Professor FitzPatrick teaches Nutritional Epidemiology and Advanced Food Science NTR 402/502.

Sonya Irish Hauser


SONYA IRISH HAUSER, PhD, Assistant Professor, Director, Post-bacc Programs, received Bachelors degrees in Psychology (Houghton College) and Nutrition Science (Russell Sage College), a Master of Science degree in Nutrition Communication (Tufts University), and a Doctoral degree in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition (Tufts University). Her academic work includes research in the areas of childhood obesity, family and community approaches to obesity prevention, and use of multimedia and web-based technology in health promotion. Other interests include environmental approaches to health behavior change and health and social marketing. Most recently, she has focused on development, implementation and various modes of dissemination for nutrition and physical activity curricula aimed at elementary school children. She has authored numerous scientific papers and speaks regularly at academic meetings and conferences. As well, she writes and contributes to articles for popular press and consults for various public health organizations, community groups, food companies, and commodity boards on a regular and on-going basis.

Dr. Hauser teaches Principles of Nutrition SCI 120, Nutrition Communication NTR 555, Weight Management NTR 562, and Nutrition Programs and Interventions NTR 561.

Dr. Nina Marinello

Dr. Nina Marinello

Dr. MARINELLO, PhD, Associate Professor, Chair, Nutrition Science Department, received a bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn, New York.  She earned her master’s degree in Natural Sciences and a doctoral degree in Molecular Biology from Roswell Park Memorial Institute, SUNY Buffalo.  She was a research scientist in recombinant vaccine development at the Wadsworth Laboratories, New York State Department of Health.  After years in the laboratory, Dr. Marinello returned to the classroom to pursue her interest in nutrition. This led her to The Sage Colleges where she received a second bachelor’s degree in nutrition science and began her academic career in nutrition. Dr. Marinello was the first Coordinator of Sports Nutrition Education in the Department of Athletics at UAlbany, Albany, New York.  She continues to be their sports nutrition consultant and provides opportunities for nutrition students to experience Division I sports nutrition.  Dr. Marinello’s knowledge of molecular biology and nutrition enhances the department’s cutting-edge curriculum.  Her interests include nutrigenomics, weight management and sports nutrition.  She writes a bi-weekly column, The Healthy Professor, for the Albany Times Union newspaper. Her writing is infused with scientific intelligence and humor while discussing topics that range from the complexities of metabolism to choosing healthy foods. Separately, practical advice and up-to-date information about nutrition and health is posted on the newspaper’s Healthy Professor blog.

Dr. Marinello teaches Nutrition Science SCI-120-01, 120-02.

Keri McComb

Keri McCombKERI MCCOMB, MS, RD, CDN, CLC, Director, Dietetic Internship, received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Albany and completed her dietetic internship and a Master of Science degree in Applied Nutrition at the Sage Graduate Schools. She has worked in public health for Baby-Friendly USA, the accrediting body for the UNICEF/WHO Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.  This is a national non-profit organization that works to improve maternity care practices throughout the United States.   Prior to entering dietetics she worked in management, overseeing projects and managing national accounts for internationally recognized clients, such as Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn.  In addition to directing the dietetic internship at Sage, she also works as a dietitian in private practice with a focus on maternal and child health.  She is a yoga teacher with RYT credentials and regularly teaches yoga classes.  Ms. McComb currently serves as the Chair for the reimbursement Committee of the Hudson Valley Dietetic Association. 

Professor McComb teaches the lecture courses required for the Distance Dietetic Internship Certificate and coordinates the DI practicum placements and assignments.

Colleen McCrief

Colleen McCrief Colleen McCrief, MS, RD, BS Coordinator/Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics, received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition from Russell Sage College and completed a dietetic internship at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, TX. She received a Masters of Science in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University in Houston, TX. Ms. McCrief began her career in Houston as a Clinical Dietitian at the VA Medical Center. Her clinical coverage focused on General Medicine and Liver Transplant.  She also spent time as Acting Clinical Manager and Acting Dietetic Internship Director. She was accepted into the Veterans Health Administration Leadership Development Institute in 2012. Most recently, she has worked as a Renal Dietitian for Fresenius Medical Care in Albany, NY.  Ms. McCrief has held leadership positions within the Houston Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as Secretary and Nominating Committee.

Professor McCrief is the DPD Director for the Department of Nutrition Science and teaches Nutrition and Human Disease NTR 517/417, Food Service System Management NTR 313, and Advanced MNT NTR 525.

Ryan Mitchell

Ryan MitchellRyan Mitchell, PhD, Associate Professor, received his Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from Pennsylvania State University and his Doctoral degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Davis.  After completing his degree, Dr. Mitchell’s career has been focused on teaching and promoting undergraduate research.  He has taught numerous science courses including Metabolism and Bioenergetics while a lecturer in the Biochemistry and Biophysics Department at UC Davis, taught various Chemistry courses in the Los Rios Community College District, and taught Nutrition at DeVry University.  Through his work as Director of the undergraduate research program in the UC Davis College of Engineering and as Coordinator of the NSF-funded California Alliance for Minority Participation, he also spent a number of years promoting the diversity of undergraduate students participating in math, science and engineering research.  Later, as the Higher Education Coordinator at the Center for Biophotonics at UC Davis, Dr. Mitchell mentored undergraduate students and facilitated their engagement in biophotonics research.   Dr. Mitchell has authored numerous papers and spoken on a wide variety topics for organizations such as the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Health Information Management Association.  Equal to his passion for educating a diverse student body is Dr. Mitchell’s passion for promoting active lifestyles.  With over 20 years of experience as a USA Cycling Federation elite amateur cyclist, and years of experience mountaineering in extreme environments, Dr. Mitchell enjoys field testing the best nutritional and physiological concepts.  His research interests include the limits of human endurance and altitude, and the relationship between metabolism and sports performance.

Dr. Mitchell teaches Nutrition Science SCI 120, Foundation of Nutrition Science NTR 201, Macronutrients NTR 501/401, and Micronutrients NTR 503/403.

Michelle Morgan

Michelle MorganMichelle Morgan, MS, RD, CDN, Coordinator, Dietetic Internship  received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition Science from Russell Sage College and completed her Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics from New York University. Ms. Morgan completed her Dietetic Internship at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Prior to joining the Sage community Ms. Morgan worked as a clinical dietitian at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. As a staff relief clinical dietitian, she gained experience providing medical nutrition therapy and nutrition support to a variety of patient populations with a vast array of disease states. Ms. Morgan was awarded Clinical Nutrition Employee of the Year in fall of 2012. Soon thereafter, she began working with the liver transplant team at Weill Cornell, providing medical nutrition therapy to patients throughout all stages of the liver transplant process. In addition to working with the liver transplant population both inpatient and outpatient, Ms. Morgan covered an inpatient surgical step-down and outpatient hemodialysis unit.

As the Dietetic Internship Coordinator, Ms. Morgan works closely with the Dietetic Internship Director to help facilitate all aspects of the program. Ms. Morgan also leads the Nutrition Science Department Journal Club and is a mentor for the students who contribute to the Gator Bait nutrition newsletter for The Sage Colleges Athletics Department.

Michelle also currently holds the position of Treasurer for the Hudson Valley Dietetic Association (HVDA).



Denise Kolankowski

DENISE KOLANKOWSKi, MS, RD, CDN, Adjunct Professor, received her associate’s degree in Dietetics from SUNY Morrisville, bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from Syracuse University successfully graduating from the coordinated undergraduate program with immediate eligibility for the RD exam, and master’s degree in Health Services Administration from Sage Graduate School, Albany, NY.  Ms. Kolankowski has worked professionally as a Registered  Dietitian  for 25 years in various positions which include: Consulting Dietitian at area long term care facilities; Public Health Nutritionist for the Albany County Department of Health; Clinical Nutrition Manager, Our Lady of Mercy Life Center, and currently as the Senior Extension Resource Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension, Schenectady County, Schenectady, NY. Her current position at cooperative Extension includes working with Schenectady County Senior and long term Care Services as the contracted Registered dietitian providing nutrition education programming for seniors participating in the congregate and home delivered meal program; working with the Schenectady County Supplemental Food and Nutrition Education Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program  with administrative assistance;  and administration and management of a variety of grants received through the, Schenectady County Public Health Services, the New York State Department of Health and Cornell University throughout her tenure at Cooperative Extension. Ms. Kolankowski has been a consistent preceptor for the Sage Dietetic Internship program since its inception in 1990. She has also served as a preceptor for the Dietetic Internship programs at SUNY Oneonta, Utah State University, and Delaware State University. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, NYS Dietetic Association and Hudson Valley Dietetic  Association (HVDA). Positions held with HVDA include Public Relation Co-Chair and nominating committee.

Ms. KOLANKOWSKi teaches Nutrition Science 120-20.


Lisa Lambert

Lisa LambertLisa Lambert,MS,RD,RN,CDN,CDE, Adjunct Instructor, received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition from Russell Sage College and completed a dietetic internship at the Quillan College of Medicine in Johnson City, TN. She received a Masters of Science in Nutrition from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City; TN. Mrs. Lambert began her career in Tennessee as a Clinical Dietitian at the Holston Valley Medical Center. Her Clinical Dietitian experiences include private consulting, inpatient hospital and outpatient care in the states of Tennessee, Virginia, Maine and New York. Mrs. Lambert has held adjunct professor positions at Hudson Valley Community College and Schenectady County Community College. She participated in the New York State department of Health, SPIN, Nutritionist, Schools and Professionals in Nutrition grant. She completed advance training and certificate in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management through the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Most recently, she received a degree in Nursing and became a Registered Nurse in 2013. She completed her first medical mission to Nicaragua in March, 2014.Mrs. Lambert continues to be active in the community as a presenter for disease prevention, health and wellness fairs and nutrition writer for magazine publications.

Professor Lambert teaches Nutrition Counseling NTR 407/507 and Nutrition Counseling Lab NTR 407L/507L.


Gail Sokol

sokolGail Sokol, BA, MBA, CC, Adjunct Instructor, received a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and English from Union College, and received a Master of Business Administration from Russell Sage College. After several years, she returned to school to pursue her passion for culinary arts, earning an Associate in Occupational Studies from Schenectady County Community College and becoming a Certified Culinarian. She teaches courses in Nutrition, Baking, and Sanitation for Schenectady County Community College’s Culinary Arts program, and is the director of SCCC’s Children’s Cooking and Baking Program. She has worked as a pastry chef in a number of local restaurants, and has served as an assistant chef for two national television cooking shows. Moreover, she organized and hosted Feed Your Brain with Chef Gail Sokol, a local children’s television series. Chef Sokol has won or placed in nearly ten culinary competitions, demonstrating her skills in subjects from baking to garde manger. Chef Sokol is the author of About Professional Baking, a professional baking textbook, and is featured in its accompanying DVD series. She is a member of the American Culinary Federation and a ServSafe certified proctor and instructor through the National Restaurant Association. She organizes and promotes Eat Healthy Albany, a program to promote healthy eating and lifestyles, and runs the Think Outside the Lunchbox initiative. Through these programs, she gives presentations and consults with schools and after-school programs. 

Chef Sokol teaches NTR 211 Introduction to Food Science and NTR 211 Labs.