Verena Sesin. Photo provided by Verena Sesin
Verena Sesin. Photo provided by Verena Sesin

Verena Sesin is an environmental toxicologist, currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Trent University in Canada. Her current research interest lies in pesticide effects and persistence in plants. Verena calls herself a “gardener for science”, as she spends a lot of time growing plants for her experiments. Verena also loves her houseplants; succulents and cacti are her favorites. When not gardening, Verena enjoys cross country running and weight training, and one of her passions is to communicate science through blogging.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Houseplants count, right?

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

I have a world map (geography?) around which I hang up all the postcards my family and friends send me from their travels

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

German and French

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

Fitness instructor

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?

Insert all the Oxford commas

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

The “In Defense of Plants” podcast

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

Go for a long run

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

Tea, good conversations, and my running shoes

15 What beverage gives you life?

Tea (my current favorite is Yogi egyptian licorice)

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

Schöne Neue Welt

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


18 What drives you and keeps you going?

When I successfully motivate others to be more environmentally friendly

19 What got you excited in science?

I wanted to discover new things

20 What excites you about science now?

The feeling of community: Scientists of different disciplines work together to tackle our environmental challenges

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Any cake that my dad is baking (most importantly his German cheesecake)

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I spot two spaces ” ” in printed and digital texts

23 What is your favorite game?

Boggle (simple but great)

24 What is the last book you read?

Thus Spoke the Plant by Monica Gagliano

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

“Care less about what others think, you can’t make everyone happy”

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


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

Start using an agenda (and write down all birthdays of family and friends!)

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

For me it’s exercise. My mind calms down when I go for runs or lift weights.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

There’s Something in the Water

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

Multiple blue nitrile gloves

31 What is your favorite animal?

Chameleons are cool

32 What is your favorite book?

All books from Dürrenmatt (love his writing style in German)

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Salted roasted Almonds

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

My birthday (because I talk to all my family and friends, and I get to eat cake)

35 What is your favorite plant?

Cattails (Typha spp.)

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Plants can sense and communicate with each other

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Ocean breeze, or freshly mown lawn

39 What is your favorite sound?

Ocean waves

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I’m always eager to learn new things

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


42 What is your proudest moment?

When I can inspire others

43 What kind of tree would you be?

A young tree, with hopefully lots of space to grow

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

My herb garden

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I used to be the official Asparagus Queen representing my hometown. We call asparagus the “royal vegetable”.

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

Sandra Klemet-N’Guessan @SandraKlemet