Meet Clarissa Parker, Senior Major in Geology

Tell us something about where you grew up.
I grew up in Worthington, Ohio, which is about 20 minutes north of Columbus. You can find the graves of all of the founders of Worthington in the St. John’s cemetery across from the middle school and the Thomas Worthington HS marching band had the largest tuba/sousaphone section in the state for a while. It’s also a close-knit town and there’s a good boba shop in downtown Worthington.
What do you like about the EEPS Dept?
I really like how small it is. I feel like I’ve been able to get to know my professors—and my professors have gotten to know me—better than I would have in any other department. I’ve had a lot of opportunities that I’m really grateful for. The field trips are also really fun.
What’s something you don’t know about or how to do, but would like to learn?
I really want to learn how to play the cello — it’s my favorite instrument. I would also like to learn how to crochet more than just a lopsided hot pad.
Tell us about your senior research thesis.
I’m studying a suite of volcanic rocks from the McMurdo volcanic group in Western Antarctica with Dr. Harvey. Over the summer, I cut the rocks open so I could find lower crustal xenoliths. I’m now looking at the lower crustal xenoliths in thin section under a petrographic microscope and looking for overall composition and structure of the xenoliths. I’m also learning how to use the SEM in SCSAM in order to characterize the major elemental components. In the winter/early spring, I’ll travel to San Francisco to Dr. James Day’s lab at the Scripps Institute, where we’ll analyze the minor and trace elements using LA-ICP-MS. Overall, we’re trying to determine the composition of the xenoliths on multiple levels so we can get a better idea of the conditions in which these samples formed.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to read, cook/bake, and spend time with my friends. I’ve made apple pie a couple of times this year already.
What are you enthused about for your future?
I’m nervous but excited to graduate. I’m not going to grad school right away because I want some work experience, but I’m looking forward to not having a lot of my time taken up by schoolwork. I also plan to get a dog someday (maybe not right after I graduate) and I have a list of names that I’ve been curating since high school.