Jill McDermott grew up in Madawaska, Maine, the northernmost town in the Eastern United States. She got hooked on science early, attending high school at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics and obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, where she alternated between the chemistry lab and the art studio. Pursuing her master’s degree at the University of New Hampshire, she found her true vocation studying the water chemistry of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Working in Prof. Karen Von Damm’s lab, she spent many days at sea at the East Pacific Rise, one of the fastest-spreading mid-ocean ridges in the world. Next she came to the MIT/WHOI Joint Program to continue doing hydrothermal research. When she’s not in the lab, she may be found hula hooping, home brewing, or collecting souvenir water samples during backpacking trips. Her mentor for this article was Carolyn Gramling, staff writer at Science magazine (and MIT/WHOI Joint Program graduate).