Alumna Returns as New Director of Dietetics Program

Ellen Ossorio brings energy, experience to help guide students to their career paths

UM alumna Ellen Ossorio has returned to campus as director of the didactic program in dietetics, working with students both in classroom and professional development settings to prepare them for professional careers. Photo by Logan Kirkland/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – Ellen Ossorio, an alumna of both the undergraduate and graduate programs in dietetics and nutrition at the University of Mississippi, is back on campus to lead the didactic program in dietetics, where students learn the knowledge and skills needed to get into a coordinated program in dietetics and ultimately become registered dietitians.

In her new role, Ossorio also works in the university’s Nutrition Clinic, which provides medical nutrition therapy and nutrition education to a variety of people in the community.

“This clinic is a wonderful asset to our department, as we get to serve the Oxford-Lafayette (County) community, which is also creating opportunities for hands-on learning experiences for our students,” Ossorio said.

Working in the clinic allows Ossorio to continue practicing as a registered dietitian and stay abreast of the most up-to-date practices to allow her to teach the latest evidence-based information to students.

Ossorio works with students both in classroom and professional development settings, helping them prepare their portfolios to apply to either post-graduate programs or the workforce.

“Ellen was an outstanding UM undergraduate and graduate student who excelled in and out of the classroom,” said Melinda Valliant, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management. “Additionally, she was a sports nutrition graduate assistant who made a positive impression on UM athletics staff and student athletes.

“She brings renewed energy and an updated clinical expertise to our program. These are much needed as we embark on curricular adjustments to assure that we meet the 2022 Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics knowledge requirements like competency changes to prepare graduate students who are positioned to become leaders in the dietetics profession.”

After Ossorio completed the coordinated program in dietetics in 2018, she worked in Memphis at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital as an in-patient clinical dietitian. She provided medical nutrition therapy to children who were in the cardiovascular intensive care unit and also worked in an outpatient setting, serving children who received tube feedings at home.

“I look back on my education and credit my postgraduate success to faculty who helped me define my strengths and refine my portfolio to be a strong candidate when applying to jobs,” she said. “I strive to be that helping hand for the students I work with.

“Already living in Oxford and knowing the faculty and staff I would be learning from helped me hit the ground running on day one. Staying in Oxford for graduate school was a great decision for me, and I would highly recommend it to anyone else considering a graduate program.”

Ossorio credits her success to the faculty members in the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management and her hands-on experiences throughout her time at Ole Miss.

“I was able to be connected with registered dietitians, which allowed me to explore different areas of the field and sharpen my skills through experiential learning,” she said.

For more information about the dietetics program at UM, visit or call 662-915-5172.