PEER REVIEW | Genevieve Sullivan: Bacteria and Food Packaging

Genevieve Sullivan grad never thought that a case of food poisoning in would spark her interest in public health. During a study abroad program in Myanmar, the food science student thought she was “invincible” until she ate a dish that had unpasteurized milk in it, ironically prompting her to reflect on how lucky she was. “We’re so used to food safety, but in some developing nations they don’t necessarily have that — the expectation of safe food. This got me interested in public health,” Sullivan said. Last summer, Genevieve Sullivan,  placed second in the Institute of Food Technologists’ undergraduate research competition, where she presented her paper ‘Physicochemical Factors Affect Bacterial Attachment on Food Packaging Surfaces: A Theoretical And Experimental Study.’ The IFT research competition not only judges students based on their research results, but also on their ability to communicate their research.

PEER REVIEW| Samantha VanWees: Bacteria, Light and Milk Processing

Imagine winning an internationally renowned competition just six weeks after graduation — the excitement and the happiness. For 22-year-old Chicago native Samantha VanWees’16, this was what happened. VanWees’s research, entitled, “Inactivation of Bacillus Licheniformis Vegetative Cells and Spores in Milk Using Pulsed Light Treatment,” considered how pulsed light — a technique used for food decontamination using short, intense pulses of a broad spectrum of light — is able to reduce bacteria during milk processing. Her achievement won her top honors for her poster and presentation at the Institute of Food Technologists’ undergraduate research competition in Chicago. During her time as an undergraduate student at Cornell University, VanWees majored in food science, saying it was her love of cooking and her mother’s influence that sparked her interest in food not only nutritionally but also chemically.