Rita Colwell pioneered the study of microbial ecology and genetics and served as Director of the National Science Foundation during 1998-2004. Her new book A Lab of Her Own: One Woman’s Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science tells two evolutionary stories. The first is the story of her career studying microbial genetic evolution, including diseases such as cholera and anthrax. The second is the story of cultural evolution and the lack thereof, such as entrenched sexism in science and the reluctance of the medical establishment to embrace new ideas. My conversation with Rita uniquely weaves these two themes of her book and life together into a single braid.