Ariel was born and raised in St. Louis Missouri. She received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago, during which time she worked with Shelley Minteer at Saint Louis University and Stephen B. H. Kent. She completed her Ph. D. in the lab of Jacqueline Barton at the California Institute of Technology and is currently an Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of California, Berkeley in the lab of Matthew Francis.

Her research interests involve the study of redox active biomolecules using electrochemistry.