SaraH Zanders grew up in a small town in southwest Iowa. She decided to become a scientist while an undergraduate student at the University of Iowa in Iowa City where she earned a B.S. degree in biology in 2005. After the final exam, the scientist who taught the genetics course invited Zanders to work in his lab during her free time. She accepted, and spent many hours in the lab learning about meiotic recombination and laboratory research. “I discovered that genetics is my thing,” she says. “I love it.” Zanders became interested in selfish genes while investigating meiotic recombination, a critical step in the formation of gametes, as a graduate student at Cornell University. While at Cornell, Zanders heard a research presentation by Harmit S. Malik, Ph.D., a scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). After receiving her Ph.D. degree in genetics and development from Cornell in 2010, Zanders joined FHCRC as a postdoctoral fellow in the basic sciences division. Malik along with FHCRC faculty member Gerry Smith, Ph.D., advised her research on fertility, genome evolution, and the origin of new species. Her research findings, which suggest that selfish genes play a role in speciation, the evolutionary process by which biological populations evolve to become distinct reproductively isolated species, were published in 2014 in the journal eLife. Zanders joined the Stowers Institute in July of 2016.