Skip to main content

Virginia Stage, PhD, RDN

Assistant Professor

Nutrition Education and Behavior Specialist

4101 Beryl Road, Suite 240


Dr. Virginia Stage is a Registered Dietitian, Nutrition Education & Behavior Specialist, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Agriculture and Human Sciences at NC State University. From the kitchen to the classroom, Dr. Stage’s mission is to empower early childhood teachers and families with evidence-based strategies to improve children’s dietary quality through early education, exposure, and access to healthy foods. Over the years, she has worked with 300+ P-8 teachers nationwide on how to improve food and nutrition learning environments in school settings using qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. She also has experience writing and developing integrative nutrition education curricular resources and collaborating with P-8 upper-level administration, teachers, and students.

Programs and Initiatives

  • The Food-based Early Education Lab
  • More PEAS Please!

Contributing Websites

Professional Honors/Offices/Recognitions

  • Present-2019: Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN)
  • Present-2019: Early Childhood Working Group focused on BMI Measurement in Head Start Co-Chair
  • 2022-2023: Society for Nutrition Education & Behavior Children’s Research Division Chair Elect
  • 2022-2023: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior Editor-in-Chief Search Committee Immediate Past Chair
  • 2022: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior Best Brief Article Award [Finalist]
  • 2022: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior Silver Author Recognition Award
  • 2022: North Carolina State University Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ Outstanding Young Alumna Award
  • 2022: East Carolina University Graduate School Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award
  • 2021-2022: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior Editor-in-Chief Search Committee Chair
  • 2019: North Carolina Head Start Association (NCHSA) Special Recognition Award
  • 2018: Society for Nutrition Education & Behavior’s Early Career Award
  • 2017: North Carolina Dietetic Association’s Outstanding Dietetic Educator Award
  • 2009: North Carolina Dietetic Association’s Young Dietitian of the Year

Selected Publications

  • Dixon, J., Hegde, A.V., Goodell, L.S., Arnold, N., Swindle, T., Dev, D., Mendez, L., McMillan, V., Lee, T., & Stage, V.C. (2023). Integration of Food-based Learning with Science in the Preschool Classroom: Implementation Gaps and Opportunities. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior.
  • Forrest, D., Hegde, A., Lee, A., McMillan, V., & Stage, V.C. (2023). Does Engagement with Head Start Facilitate Low Resource Parents’ Ability to Encourage Positive Health Behaviors among Young Children? A Qualitative Exploration of Parent Perceptions. Journal of Early Childhood Research.
  • Miller, E.M., Nicely, S., Trimbach, K., Shefet, D. , Stage, V.C.(2023). Measuring, Tracking, and Reporting BMI in Head Start: Perceptions of Health and Nutrition Managers. Health Promotion.
  • Stage, V.C., Resor, J., Dixon, J., Hegde, A.V., Mendez, L., Lee, T., Brienholdt, R., Goodell, L.S., McMillen, V.J., Gilliam, E.M. (2023). More PEAS Please! Teaching Teachers How to Integrate Food-based Learning into Preschool Science. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior.
  • Hasnin, S., Dev, D.V., Swindle, T.M., Sisson, S.B., Purkait, T., Clifton, S.C., Dixon, J., & Stage, V.C. (2023). Current Field Use of Reflection Spectroscopy-based Skin Carotenoid Assessment in Children: Systematic Review. Current Developments in Nutrition.
  • Shefet, D., Nicely, S., Miller, B., Powell, S. & Stage, V.C. (2022). My Child is Overweight, Now What? How Head Start Communicates with Families about Childhood Obesity. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior.
  • Miller, E.M., Nicely, S., Trimbach, K., Shefet, D., Stage, V.C. (2022). Measuring, Tracking, and Reporting BMI in Head Start: Perceptions of Health and Nutrition Managers. Health Education & Behavior.
  • Diaz Rios, K., Stage, V.C., Leak, T., Taylor, C., & Reicks, M. (2022). Collecting, Using, and Reporting Race and Ethnicity Information: Implications for Research in Nutrition Education, Practice, and Policy. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior, 54(6), 582-593.
  • Tovar, A., Miller, B, Stage, V.C., Hoffman, J., Guseman, E.H., Sisson, S.B., Shefet, D.*, Benhamin-Neelon, S., Swindle, T., Hasin, S., & Beltrain, M. (2022). BMI Data Collection and Communication in a Multi-State Sample of Head Start. Childhood Obesity.
  • Dev, D., Padasas, I., Hillburn, C., Stage, V.C., & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2020).Using the RE-AIM Framework in Formative Evaluation of the EAT Family Style Multilevel Intervention. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior, 46(1), 34-42.

View More Publications


  • More PEAS Please! Building a Partnership for Science Education with Teachers and Underrepresented Minority Preschool Children
    Date: 06/13/2019 – 5/31/2025
    Amount: $1,332,774
    Funding Agencies: National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA)
  • Bilingualtek: Multimedia Assisted Language-based Science Learning for Latino Preschoolers
    Date: 08/2021 – 07/2026
    Amount: $1,600,000
    Funding Agency: National Science Foundation (NSF) K-12 Discovery Award


BS Nutrition & Dietetics East Carolina University

MS Clinical Nutrition East Carolina University

PhD Nutrition Science North Carolina State University

Registered and Licensed Dietician East Carolina University

Certificate in Public Health Leadership University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Area(s) of Expertise

  • Nutrition Education & Behavior Change Support for Young Children and Families
  • School-based Nutrition Education Interventions
  • Food/Nutrition as a Classroom Teaching Tool and Teacher Professional Development
  • Integrating STEM and Food/Nutrition Education
  • PSE (Policy, Systems, Environmental) Change