For the second straight season, the Syracuse University football team has qualified for a bowl game, the first time the Orange have secured back-to-back postseason appearances since the 2012 and 2013 seasons. After closing out the regular season with a…
‘All Foods Fit’: Meet Assistant Director of Nutrition Management, Ashley Russo-Leone
The Office of the Chief Operating Officer, Auxiliary Services and Food Services are excited to introduce Ashley Russo-Leone as the new assistant director of nutrition management. After earning a master’s degree in nutrition science from the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, and with a wide range of professional experience, she aims to make Syracuse University the “gold standard for food service and campus dining.” Read on to learn more about her knowledge, goals and upcoming initiatives.
What will your main role be?
Ashley Russo-Leone: As assistant director of nutrition management, I will be focusing on developing nutritional programming for campus dining operations, disseminating training to staff and students as it pertains to nutrition and food safety, assisting with recipe creation and approval of menus, working one-on-one with students with special dietary needs/diets and nutrition-related questions, and facilitating relationships between students, managing chefs and dining facility management.
Tell me a bit about your background and past experience; what will you bring to this position that is unique to you?
Russo-Leone: I am coming from Upstate Hospital, so I have a very strong clinical nutrition background. I also used to work in product development and production for very large apparel companies, so I have a wide range of professional experience. Because of this, I can approach my new role with a lot of perspective. I have a lot of experience working as a dietitian, but also have a solid understanding of what goes on behind the scenes.
What drew you to Syracuse University? Do you have any special connections to SU or the Syracuse area?
Russo-Leone: I grew up in Dewitt and my whole family lives in Syracuse. I also completed my master’s degree at Syracuse University. I lived in Philadelphia and Manhattan for many years and did a lot of traveling around the world before coming back to Syracuse. I love it here, it is my home.
What is your top goal for nutrition management as a part of campus dining and the University community?
Russo-Leone: I want Syracuse to be the gold standard for food service and campus dining. There are so many opportunities to raise the bar and do some really cool, new, and fun things around food and the dining experience. I want our dining facilities to be a place the students are proud and excited to go to with their friends and spend time. I want our meals to be Instagram-picture-worthy and delicious too.
Who is your biggest inspiration? What motivated you to take this career path?
Russo-Leone: I completed my food service rotation with Syracuse University Food Services under Ruth Sullivan during my dietetic internship. I immediately knew one day I wanted this role. I loved the idea of both working one-on-one with the students on their dietary needs, while also being able to impact their nutrition on a larger scale by working cross-functionally with the whole University food service team.
What is a quote or philosophy that you live by?
Russo-Leone: This is easy. “All foods fit.” I don’t believe in diet culture and I think all types of foods have a place in our lives, if we want them to. Mealtimes should be enjoyable and food should make us happy AND healthy.