Harper College

Nutrition Faculty

Traci Wessel headshot

Traci Wessel, MS, RD, LDN

Nutrition Department Chair, Dietetic Internship Director
Phone: 847.925.6537
Office: X227

Traci Wessel is the Nutrition Department Chair and Dietetic Internship Director at Harper College. Traci holds an M.S. in Nutrition and Wellness from Benedictine University and completed her internship there as well. Her career has been focused in pediatrics, mental health, geriatrics, management (clinical and food service) and education. Traci holds certification in fertility nutrition and is currently taking courses in integrative and functional nutrition with a special interest in women's health. Traci loves working with students and interns, guiding them through the dietetics curriculum. She enjoys providing hands-on educational experiences to her students to put knowledge into real-world situations.


Racheal Costello

Rachael Costello, MS, RDN, LDN

Instructor
 

Rachael Costello is a full-time faculty instructor in the Harper College Nutrition Department. Rachael holds an M.S. in Applied Nutrition from the University of New England and a B.A. in Dietetics from the University of Northern Colorado. She completed her dietetic internship at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College of Virginia. She has a certificate of training in food allergies from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her career has been focused primarily in clinical dietetics, working in long term care facilities, hospitals and private practice with a particular focus in gastrointestinal health, weight management, and food allergies.


John Athamanah headshot

John Athamanah, MS, MBA, RD

Adjunct Faculty Instructor

Johnny Athamanah has been an Adjunct Faculty member at Harper College since 2004. Mr. Athamanah has multifaceted work experience in clinical and hospital foodservice management, corporate training, and collegiate teaching experience. He has most recently served as Food Services Systems Manager and Dietetics Internship preceptor at the Edward Hines Jr. Veteran’s Hospital. He currently teaches courses in the Nutrition Department at Harper College.

Mr. Athamanah has earned a B.S. in Human Nutrition and Dietetics and a M.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also has completed a M.S. in Human Nutrition at Eastern Michigan University.


Debra McDaniel headshot

Kelly LaVoie MS, RD, LDN

Clinical Supervisor

Kelly is a clinical supervisor in the Harper College Nutrition Department. Kelly has an MS in Nutrition from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Kelly has worked in a variety of settings, including clinical inpatient, dialysis, group education, and private practice. Kelly also has experience in the intersection between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and nutrition and wellness businesses.



Mia Greco headshot

Mia Greco, MS, MPH, RD, LDN

Adjunct Faculty Instructor/Clinical Supervisor


Mia Greco is a clinical supervisor and adjunct faculty member of the Nutrition Department at Harper College. Mia holds an M.S. in Nutrition and Wellness and a Master of Public Health both from Benedictine University, where she also completed her dietetic internship. In addition to Mia’s work at Harper, she also has a small private practice dedicated to treating eating disorders, chronic dieting and providing weight inclusive Medical Nutrition Therapy for a diverse population of patients. Mia’s past experiences include long term care nutrition and foodservice management, she utilizes these experiences in her role as an educator in the nutrition department.


 

Lisa Piagari headshot

Lisa Piagari, MS, RD, LDN

Adjunct Faculty Instructor


My teaching philosophy is to create a friendly, safe learning environment that allows for supervised exploration. I believe my role as an instructor is to motivate and empower the students’ learning through meaningful and practical experiences. Through hands-on experiences, classroom discussion, and even the use of humor, I hope to coach students to inspire their learning. I want them to feel that success includes good mistakes.

I am committed to giving students the tools they need to analyze information and situations, and effectively solve problems. The best approach to achieve these goals is using a blended-flip-the-classroom approach with project-based learning in the kitchenettes. This creates a great space for peer-to-peer collaboration and offers flexibility for me to offer personalized help and direction to students as they complete their work.

My educational background includes a Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics at Northern Illinois University while completing the AP4 field experience program, and a Master Online Teacher Certificate from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Good nutrition knows no age. For decades, I’ve worked as a clinical dietitian in skilled nursing facilities while teaching online before it became the “new normal.” My motto is, "Healthy eating is a good habit!"


 

Amiee Zajc headshot

Aimee Zajc, MS, RD, LDN

Adjunct Faculty Instructor


Aimee Zajc is a Harper College Adjunct Instructor. Aimee completed her M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics at Central Michigan University, B.S. in Nutrition Science at the University of New Hampshire, and Dietetic Internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Her career experience includes hospital clinical settings, outpatient dialysis centers, retail grocery, consultant, and media positions.

Aimee is grateful for the opportunity to help students connect the exciting world of nutrition science to practical real-life scenarios.


Last Updated: 12/14/23