Laura Jessup standing outside in front of some trees and shorter vegetation. Photo provided by Laura Jessup
Laura Jessup standing outside in front of some trees and shorter vegetation. Photo provided by Laura Jessup

Laura Jessup is a plant ecologist trying to figure out how plants grow, specifically their roots, when water is scarce. When she’s not doing science, Laura can be found cooking/baking, playing music, or Instagramming plant photos. Website:; Instagram: @LauraSeesPlants.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

I have a pet hedgehog named Waffles.

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?


5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

I speak enough Swahili to get by (let me know if you want someone to practice with)!

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?


9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?


10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?


11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

The power to slow down or speed up time

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

The best album of all time: Paul Simon’s Graceland

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Try a new recipe, have a picnic, go for a hike.

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

My water bottle, my computer, and a warm winter hat

15 What beverage gives you life?


16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Flyboys by James Bradley

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

A veterinarian.

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

I am so curious about nature. I want to know everything there is to know about it!

19 What got you excited in science?

Initially, bird song. My bachelor’s is in music; I fell in love with bird song, then realized that people actually study it! Then, I became one of those people.

20 What excites you about science now?

All the connections between different parts of nature from the relationships among microorganisms to earth-atmosphere feedbacks.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Watching Sponge Bob Squarepants.

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

Tetris. I’m not sure if I’m any good anymore; I had to ban myself from playing it because I spent an embarrassing amount of time playing.

23 What is your favorite game?

A card game that my family plays called Pedro. I have never met someone outside my family that knows it.

24 What is the last book you read?

No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Enjoy the journey.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Quit my job and travel the world for several months-years.

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Go easy on yourself. Quit striving for perfection; enjoy the ride.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Walking. Walking for as long as it takes for the stress to subside.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Better Call Saul. I’m hopelessly addicted.

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Dead birds

31 What is your favorite animal?

Dogs. There are so many cool animals out there, but dogs… they’re just so great.

32 What is your favorite book?

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Popcorn and ice cream. I consider this to be one food because they are best eaten one right after the other, in that order.

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

December 26 because I can stop stressing out about Christmas for about 11 months.

35 What is your favorite plant?

Eastern Hemlock.

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Birds practice their songs in their sleep by “dream singing”. They don’t actually sing, but the muscles and neurons are firing as if they are.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Campfire smoke or popcorn

39 What is your favorite sound?

The piece of music that inspired me to pursue a bachelor’s in music starts with the tinkling of small bells that are supposed to conjure images of fireflies. The sound of those bells is my favorite sound.

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My sense of humor

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

Mapolomoko (waterfall in Swahili). It’s just so fun to say.

42 What is your proudest moment?

Leaving my first PhD lab and advisor. Recognizing it was toxic and that I didn’t need that in my life was a big step for me.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Jack pine

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

Low cost of living

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I recently got over my lifelong fear of butterflies.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Natalia Maass (@natdoesscience)
Patricia Nease (@boots_nease)