Ariel Parker is a current PhD student in the CMDB program. She completed an undergraduate biology degree at Swarthmore College.
My thesis work is in biology and particularly behavioral neuroscience. I use C. elegans (a small, transparent, non-parasitic nematode worm) to understand how environmental variance is interpreted by the sensory system to help worms make behavioral decisions.
While I didn’t know that I would study this topic specifically, I have always been interested in science. By the time I was in my senior year of college, I knew I wanted to go to graduate school to do biological research. I came to Johns Hopkins because I wanted to live in a new city for graduate school, having spent most of my life in Philadelphia.
Since coming to Hopkins, I have tried to be involved in the life of the university. I am a member of the planning committee for the recently resurged Black Graduate Student Association. I also restructured and organization called MInDS (Mentoring to Inspire Diversity in Science), the diversity and community outreach group of the department of biology. In conjunction with another Boggs Fellow, Alexandra Gittens and the Teaching Academy, I have also helped to develop a workshop for training biology and graduate teaching assistants.
Outside of the lab, I am involved in activities that relate to my future career. I would like to teach biology at HCBUs and community colleges, institutions that educate a great number of Black scientists. I enjoy painting, crafting, and viewing works of art, especially by Black artists. I am also the Recruitment & Membership Chair of the Joshua Johnson Council at the Baltimore Museum of Art, which is one of the oldest African-American museum support groups in the country.