The Illinois State University Outstanding Young Alumni Award will be presented to Homewood-Flossmoor High School Class of 2000 graduate Dr. Jennifer Parker.
The award, being presented Feb. 17, recognizes the contributions of outstanding young alumni to society, their profession or the university. Selection is based upon significant accomplishments in one’s chosen field. The award is given to an ISU alum aged 40 years or younger.
Parker was an outstanding student at H-F. She was a member of the Vikings Marching Band, dance and the National Honor Society. She says she drew inspiration from H-F teachers Jean Barker in science, Elizabeth Rowan in math and Cheryl Washington in English.
She had a goal of doing work in the medical field, and she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at ISU. Next, she was accepted into Stanford University’s Medical Scientist Training Program and received a Ph.D. in chemistry and systems biology.
Parker completed a year of internal medicine training at Rush University, followed by a year of residency in diagnostic radiology at Yale New Haven Hospital. She graduated in 2018 from a radiation oncology residency at Northwestern Hospital and subsequently completed a master’s in public health in health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, while concurrently completing the Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy.
She has also served as a clinical researcher at Northwestern University’s Department of Dermatology, working on established clinical trials and developing her own in conjunction with the Radiation Oncology Department to improve patient outcomes from radiation therapy.
Parker has conducted and published breast cancer, cervical cancer and onco-dermatology clinical research. Her work has been presented nationally, and she was recognized in 2013 as a National Medical Association Top Healthcare Professional Under 40.
Having recently shifted her area of focus in clinical medicine to improving dermatological clinical outcomes in skin of color, Parker is now a dermatology resident at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine. She resides in Philadelphia.