Marilyn Magaram Center

Fall Director's Message

December 17, 2020

Dr. Besnilian

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

The dedication and hard work of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff continues to further the mission and vision of the Marilyn Magaram Center as we “plant seeds” of good health and wellbeing through research, education and services in food science, nutrition and dietetics. We have remained committed to serving CSUN and the greater community by providing numerous opportunities for engagement and utilizing many on- and off-campus partnerships and collaborations, making our virtual programs, projects and services accessible to all while improving health outcomes and enhancing quality of life. Thanks to ongoing support from the Joseph Drown Foundation, the MMC Wellness Clinic continues to expand and is providing free nutrition counseling via telehealth through the end of the fall semester. Weekly tips and videos from our Registered Dietitians are available on our website and social media platforms, and we recently launched “Staying Healthy While Staying Home: Weight Management Made Easy,” a 5-week series of workshops with live food demonstrations and topics as mindful eating, meal planning, portion control and food trends. “Thrive with Diabetes,” our group education workshop series recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), was offered in Spanish during the months of November and December, and services and resources continue to be provided virtually to the community through the NEVHC WIC program. In an effort to meet the specific nutritional needs of student athletes, our team also developed a virtual sports nutrition quick guide and cookbook as well as tips, recipes, and interactive workshops that are being made available online. Since the campus closure due to COVID-19, the CSUN Food Pantry has not stopped serving those in need and continues to provide canned foods, grocery store gift cards and fresh produce. We are proud to support their efforts by donating herbs, fruits and vegetables from the MMC Wellness Garden, and our Let’s Grow Healthy team was able to harvest more than 60 pounds of food this fall. In addition, our “Gardening at Home” video workshop series has been well-received, providing information on how to select the perfect gardening space as well as safety tips, sun orientation, sun-charting, and recommended water sources. Other videos from the Let’s Grow Healthy team have included making your own herbal tea and the differences between aquaponic and hydroponic gardening systems. In partnership with our CalFresh Healthy Living and our Let’s Cook, Move and Grow program, the MMC offered a “Eat Healthy, Stay Active” series of interactive virtual workshops in August and September, and the CalFresh team continues to serve the community through monthly food distributions and free virtual classes and resources on nutrition and physical activity for children and their families. From October through December, the MMC provided numerous wellness workshops, food demonstrations and culinary classes weekly via Zoom. In partnership with CSUN Human Resources, we offered a “Young Chef Virtual Series” specifically for CSUN staff and their families, with fun topics such as “Fall Flavors” and “Halloween Recipes.” In collaboration with the CSUN Alumni Association and Chef Harold Avila, we also coordinated a virtual “happy hour” event and a culinary workshop on making plant-based Thanksgiving recipes. Please continue to stay informed about all of our events, workshops and resources through the weekly MMC Virtual Events emails and our quarterly e-newsletters. The MMC was pleased to co-sponsor the biennial California State University – Interdisciplinary Cancer Meeting (CSU-ICM) along with other CSUN centers and departments including the Department of Biology, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science and Mathematics, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and Office of Graduate Studies. We look forward to continued participation in the CSU-ICM as additional NIH funding is sought to expand this event annually and provide an additional day of community outreach to include cancer screenings, nutrition seminars, and podcasts. In collaboration with the Autonomy Research Center for STEAHM (otherwise known as ARCS) at CSUN, we are also excited to begin exploring autonomy-related farming systems and technology in a multidisciplinary approach through grant funding received from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). We were fortunate to receive funding through nine grants during the fall semester, in addition to submitting three pending proposals. Our dietetic interns worked hard on submitting their business plans this semester as well, with our “PowerHealth” team winning 2nd place in the CSUN Fast Pitch competition this year. And I am extremely proud to announce that our USDA Pathways to Success program was recently selected as the national winner in the Talent + Place category for the University Economic Development Association’s (UEDA) 2020 Awards of Excellence! As we approach the holiday season and the end of the year, I am filled with gratitude for our students, faculty, staff, and our donors for their commitment and continued support. I would also like to extend a special thank you to Sally and Phil Magaram and all those whose generous contributions make it possible for us to achieve our mission and vision during these uncertain and changing times. As a reminder, you can find the most recent CSUN COVID-19 updates at According to the CDC guidelines, when you engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventative actions. Wishing you and your loved ones good health and safety, now and always. 

Executive Director, Magaram Center