To me, being a scientist is akin to being an adventurer. I like knowing that I might be the only person who’s ever known one specific fact. When I was little in Colombia, my family owned a coffee farm, where I became enthralled by nature’s beauty and mystery. I still like working with my hands and seeking knowledge. I am an avid gardener. Currently, I grow okra, asparagus, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, figs, apples — my garden is very extensive. Diverse experiences like this can help define a PhD applicant. Students should have extensive research interests but also be passionate and show leadership.