Food microbiologist Sally Powell Price '09

In the risk-versus-reward calculation, is raw cookie dough really that bad?

Don’t take this as a green light, but food microbiologist Sally Powell Price ’09 doesn’t worry so much about that particular pitfall because eggs are well controlled for salmonella in the U.S. Higher on her personal caution list is what lurks in the back of the refrigerator. “I probably do throw out my leftovers sooner than I would have to, just because when you’re a microbiologist by training, you know what’s growing on there,” Price said.

Since June, she has worked as a regulatory expert and scientific consultant for food safety at MilliporeSigma, a life science business that provides lab materials, innovative technologies, and services to scientists and engineers. A major part of her responsibility is to monitor new public health measures and food and beverage testing regulations. 

“I think what I find most rewarding about my work is that it gives me the opportunity to promote public health while also supporting new and exciting scientific innovations with a global impact,” Price said.

Her two most recent prior jobs were director of lab operations at a biotech startup in Boston and food & Legionella lab supervisor at the New York City Department of Health’s Public Health Laboratory.

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She has two master’s degrees from James Cook University in Australia, including one in microbiology and immunology. At Hamilton, she majored in biology and minored in geosciences, and she credits her thesis advisor, Associate Professor of Biology Mike McCormick, with propelling her forward in microbiology.

“I'd love to do a shout-out to the Biology and Geosciences departments,” she said. “I really credit my time with those professors, as well as time as an Adirondack Adventure leader at Hamilton, with preparing me best for my leadership roles in public health and STEM.”

She knew back on the Hill that she wanted a career in science, but assumed that necessarily meant a doctorate and a job in academia. At that time, Price said, that was the most open path for women who wanted leadership roles in science. But in the last decade or so, Price has seen opportunities grow for women in science with a more diverse set of credentials. 

“I’ve been in multiple leadership roles in STEM because I had great mentors. And also industries, especially MilliporeSigma, are very supportive of women’s leadership and good communication skills in the field,” she said.

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