Y. Y. Clark Scholarship
Yvonne Y. Clark (born Yvonne Young, 1929) is a pioneer for African-American and women engineers. She is the first woman to get a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Howard University. She is the first woman to earn a master’s degree in Engineering Management from Vanderbilt University. She is the first woman to serve as a faculty member in the College of Engineering and Technology at Tennessee State University.
Clark was born in 1929 in Houston, Texas and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Her father, Dr. Coleman Milton Young, Jr. was a physician/surgeon and her mother, Hortense Houston Young was a librarian and journalist. As a child she had a love for building and fixing things. She took an aeronautics class in high school and joined the school’s Civil Air Patrol. In 1945 she graduated from high school at age 16 and spent the next two years studying in Boston. Clark then became the first woman to earn a degree in mechanical engineering from Howard University. After she graduated in 1951 she found that “the engineering job market wasn’t very receptive to women, particularly women of color”.
Clark helped to start Tennessee State’s chapter of Pi Tau Sigma, a mechanical engineering society. There, she was the first female member of the mechanical engineering department joining the faculty in 1956, and twice chaired it, initially from 1965 until 1970, and then starting in 1977 and held the position for the next 11 years.
Ms. Clark has won numerous awards and hold membership in professional and civic organizations:
Member and Executive Committee, Society of Women Engineers (1952 – ); Fellow of the Society of Women Engineers (1984 – ); Mechanism of the Year Award given by the TSU student Chapter of ASME for her unyielding support to her students. (1990); Women of Color Technology Award for Educational Leadership by U.S. Black Engineers (1977); Adult Black Achievers Award by the Northwest Family YMCA for being a role model and mentor to the youth of today. (1977); Distinguished Engineering Educator Award (1998); Distinguished Service Award by the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE) for her outstanding leadership to her profession and contributions to the community (2001); President’s Distinguished University Award from TSU for 50 years of loyalty, dedication, and determination during her career in academia (2006); Educator of the Year Award by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Nashville Alumnae Chapter (2008); Member, American Society of Engineering Education; Member, American Society of Mechanical Engineers.