Marilyn Magaram Center

Fall 2022 Director's Message

December 4, 2022

Annette A. Besnilian

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” - Walt Disney

As the Holiday Season begins and the semester draws to a close, the Marilyn Magaram Center (MMC) has so much to celebrate and be grateful for!

The Center has been a dream come true for so many people since it was first envisioned by our founders, the Magarams; and our founding director, Dr. Tom Chen.  It has been an honor for me to start as a student and an MMC intern when it was dedicated in 1991, and serve as Faculty Advisory Board Member, Internship Coordinator, Associate Director and Executive  Director.  

The MMC has been able to make training, research, education, community outreach and partnership a reality for more than 500,000 participants, by providing local, regional, national, international services - and with our current NASA projects to infinity and beyond!

Always remember, if you can Dream it, and work hard, you can do it! With our newest project you can shoot for the stars and the moon!  It has been an honor to see more than 3000 students achieve their dream of becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Food Scientist, Educator, Researcher or Leader in the field!

In the summer, we excitedly noted participating in the NASA Deep Space Food Challenge with the Autonomy Research Center for STEAHM (ARCS) Center and making it into the second phase of the challenge. We are so excited to now announce our students’ accomplishments as being finalists of the NASA USDA Space Food Challenge. We’ve further continued our work with NASA in growing food for space, with generous donations from our alumni Susan Ettinger.

We’ve also been developing more garden expansion and vertical gardening for our Center’s garden. Through the Center and garden, we’ve been offering nutrition and gardening workshops, as well as continued tours. We were honored to provide tours to Sally and Jodi Magaram Bell, CSUN President Erika D. Beck, Genevieve Evans-Taylor,  Vice President for University Advancement Nicole Ipach, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Mary Beth Walker, College of Health and Human Development's Interim Dean Mechelle Best, the Dean’s Circle and many of our generous donors, including our alumni Barbara and Gary Luboff.

This year, The Magaram Center was honored to sponsor and participate in the Health and Human Development’s Research Excellence and Innovation Conference and provide research, learning and education opportunities for all students and staff.

Another exciting accomplishment this semester was that our MyPlate Musical Program was recognized by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and we were awarded with the 2022 Anita Owen Award of Recognition for Innovative Nutrition Education Programs for the Public.

We were also able to present with Helen Butleroff-Leahy at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) 2022 in Orlando, Florida. Our presentation was on the importance of “Promoting Nutrition and Self Esteem through Nutritional Theater in Underserved Communities.” Being able to share this extremely important program with FNCE and all the professionals present was an honor and huge accomplishment.

The Center continues to develop and implement culinary medicine curriculum for all healthcare providers, provide nutrition counseling through telehealth and accredited diabetes workshops, and cancer health workshops. Further, the Center continues to offer internships and mentorship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Moreso, the Center was extremely excited to offer 40+ scholarships to both undergraduate and graduate students and is looking forward to awarding, even more, this upcoming year!

CSUN students were finalists this past spring in the Bull Ring program, and they will be participating in CSUN’s upcoming Fast Pitch Competition program and sharing their new innovative business ideas.

The Center has been creating new products and working to get those new products ready for distribution. Keep an eye out for Magaram Center teas “Matador Passion Tea”, protein bars “MatadorPro MataBar” and relish “Pickled Matador”! Also, please mark your calendars and save the date for our MMC Wellness Tea Party on June 17, 2023!  More information is coming soon.

Beyond all of the new additions the Magaram Center has taken on, we continue to participate in various events including:

  • College of Health and Human Development Open House
  • CSUN Bike Fest
  • Weekly On-Campus Farmers Market
  • Meet the Clubs - Tabling Event
  • Signing of the Agreement between CSUN and American University in Armenia.  This is a friendship agreement signed between the two presidents, Cal, State University Northridge and American University in Armenia. The agreement provides opportunities for collaborative projects and student exchange opportunities between both universities.

The Magaram Center is working to ensure that our programming, trainings, and projects are all in line with the new university road map, and with the future strategic direction and priorities of the university and continue making future dreams come true!

We are forever thankful to the Sally and Phil Magaram, the Magaram Family, and Phil’s vision. Due to the hard work of our staff, students, faculty, sponsors, and donors we were able to accomplish a great deal.  We thank them for gracing us with their talents, dedication, agility, and drive this year! Like a Sunflower, keep your sight on the sun (your goals) and keep reaching for the stars!

Wishing you and your loved ones good health and safety, now and into the New Year!

Annette A. Besnilian., Executive Director, Marilyn Magaram Center