Stacy Clark
Stacy Clark
Program Manager, Center for NYC Neighborhoods
Brooklyn, NY

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Close Up
  • What I Do

    <p>&lt;p&gt;My background in engineering and construction management has brought me to my current position of Program Manager for a nonprofit in New York City, where I manage the organization&amp;#39;s first construction program intended to help reduce the risk of sewage backup into low- to moderate-income homes in some of NYC&amp;#39;s coastal neighborhoods.&lt;/p&gt;</p>

  • Why Engineering?

    <p>&lt;p&gt;While I don&amp;#39;t personally believe you have to me a math/science whiz to become an engineer... that&amp;#39;s sort of how I fell into engineering. Because of my good grades in math and science, I was invited to a week-long math and science camp focused on engineering for middle school girls called Horizons at Clarkson University. Coming from a very tiny, academically-behind, small school, this really was my first introduction to engineering. We did projects like drawing a barbie doll to real-life scale, programming robots, and egg drop competitions. I had a lot of fun that whole week and started saying I was going to be an engineer immediately. At that point I didn&amp;#39;t realize just how many types of engineering there are. I applied to college as a Biomedical Engineering major, then I switched to Environmental Engineering. Now that I&amp;#39;m in the work force, I&amp;#39;m realizing how many different types of engineers there are JUST within Environmental Engineering. And really JUST within water/wastewater engineering.&lt;/p&gt;</p>

  • School Days

    <p>&lt;p&gt;I have a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, and I am currently pursuing my M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering at Manhattan College in the Bronx, NY by taking evening classes part-time while working full-time.</p>

  • Best Part

    <p>&lt;p&gt;I love that my field within engineering (civil/environmental) helps me be in the loop about how our infrastructure works and what types of projects are going on to upgrade/expand our infrastructure. I&amp;#39;ve met a lot of people (adults, even) who don&amp;#39;t even know what happens to the water that goes down their sink or toilet. I know exactly what happens - I talk about it every single day at work. Same with drinking water - people turn on their taps and water comes out. A lot of people don&amp;#39;t know how it gets there and is magically safe to drink. It&amp;#39;s similar with flood protection and stormwater management, which are two other types of projects I work on.&lt;/p&gt;</p>

  • Challenges

    <p>&lt;p&gt;(1) Figure Out College: I&amp;#39;m a first generation college student, so navigating the application process, admission process, and just college itself was very challenging for the first year or so. Eventually we all figured it out, and everything worked out just swell.&lt;br /&gt; (2) Internships &amp;amp; The Recession: I was in college during the recession, so there were almost no paid summer internships, especially if you had no connections to the engineering world (which I didn&amp;#39;t have). I ended up lucking out and getting an internship that paid me $500/month, which left me with $50/month to live on after paying rent. That was extremely challenging, but my family worked really hard to make it work so I would have something to put on my resume to try to get a full-time job since I had no connections to the engineering world to help me out.&lt;br /&gt; (3) Sexism: Haven&amp;#39;t conquered this one yet, but I&amp;#39;m working on it every day. I hope you will too!  Although I must say, since I started working at the nonprofit for which I'm currently working, this has been a non-issue internally.  The only time I have to deal with it is when I'm talking to elected officials or representatives from city agencies or contractors.&lt;/p&gt;</p>

  • My Family

    <p>&lt;p&gt;I grew up on a very hard-working low income family. When I say hard-working I mean they work hard at their jobs, and they also worked VERY hard and sacrificed a lot to put me through college and support me financially through my essentially unpaid summer internships I talked about earlier. I am the first in my family to receive a college degree.&lt;br /&gt; &lt;br /&gt; I just got married in December 2017.  No kids yet - but that will change soon, and I'll report back on how the engineering world is treating me then.

  • Dreams and Goals

    Short-term:  get my Professional Engineer's (P.E.) License and finish my master's program; Long-term:  maybe start my own engineering firm that trains women in relevant jobs (like CAD/BIM technicians).

  • Inspiration

    <p>&lt;p&gt;I have this thing for going against limits people set for me - what I&amp;#39;m expected to do or capable of doing. I think this really started in 5th grade when we had our first class officer election. I ran for Class Treasurer, and I was the only girl to run for a position. When I didn&amp;#39;t win, I put my hand up and said to my teacher, How can all the class officers be boys when our class is more than half girls?. My teacher responded by saying, That&amp;#39;s just the way it is. That day, I started loading my brain with information about feminism, which eventually led to learning about disparities related to class, race, and other factors as well.&lt;br /&gt; &lt;br /&gt; So maybe it&amp;#39;s that moment that has had the greatest influence on my life choices. It&amp;#39;s what made me realize that people had preconceived notions of me not only because I&amp;#39;m a woman but because I&amp;#39;m a woman from a lower income family living in a trailer park. People didn&amp;#39;t expect me to graduate at the top of my high school class, but I did. People didn&amp;#39;t expect me to get a degree from a top engineering university where I worked two part-time jobs, was in two honor societies, and made dean&amp;#39;s list 7/8 semesters, but I did. People didn&amp;#39;t expect me to become an engineer, but I did. People didn&amp;#39;t expect me to be living in New York City, but here I am.&lt;/p&gt;</p>

  • Want to be an Engineer?

    Don't be afraid to call or email people working in fields you might be interested in to get more information, invite them to an interview (in person or by phone), or just ask questions in general.  It's a great way to get a feel for whether or not you want to move forward with the field - especially if you can get the person to agree to let you shadow them for a few days.  I grew up in a small town where there weren't any engineers in the field I was interested in (Biomedical Engineering at the time).  Don't get discouraged if this happens to you, too.  Try to set up Skype calls or see if the company, if it's far away, would be willing to make arrangements for you to visit and shadow.

  • Hobbies

    Kayaking, camping, seeing live music, making ice cream

  • Proud Moments

    I'm very proud of being in the position I'm currently in with the nonprofit I work for.  I'm proud that I've been able to leverage my experience in construction management and engineering to manage a program that is going to save hardworking low- to moderate-income families money and that it won't cost them any money.  I'm proud of the relationships I've fostered with my counterparts in other cities around the country and in Canada who manage similar programs (it's the first of its kind in New York).  

Biography
During middle school, I was invited to a week-long summer camp at Clarkson University (it's called Horizons) designed to teach girls about engineering. After this experience, I was sure I wanted to be an engineer, but I had no idea what kind of engineer. When I started as a freshman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2008, I declared Biomedical Engineering as my major. As a sophomore, I my major to Environmental Engineering - a field I had never heard of or considered until I started to meet people in the program and learn about what it actually entailed. Immediately after graduating, I started working as a Staff Engineer in the Water and Wastewater Divisions at a small engineering consulting firm on Long Island. I got to work on several projects related to design and construction of a new sewer, rehabilitation of water main, rehabilitation of a groundwater well, rehabilitation of a drinking water storage tank, and design of a nitrate removal system for a municipal water supplier. I was very excited to get my next job offer from a much larger, international engineering firm in New York City since I REALLY wanted to be able to live in New York City. At this job, I primarily worked on projects related to Superstorm Sandy recovery and resiliency. I completed projects for hospitals within the NYC and for a wastewater treatment plant right outside of NYC that was severely damaged by the storm. Tasks I completed included design work, construction management, technical report writing, and training colleagues in Revit and AutoCAD. At my next job, I worked on a green infrastructure program for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. My responsibilities included completing drilling inspection (boring holes and permeability tests) and other field work and creating design drawings using AutoCAD. I am currently putting my experience working on projects related to Superstorm Sandy recovery and resiliency to use by working as a Program Manager for a nonprofit for its first construction program ever. The program is funded by the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery, and its purpose s to provide low-to-moderate-income homeowners in certain coastal NYC neighborhoods with a valve on the pipe that connects their home's plumbing fixtures to the City's sewer in order to reduce the risk of sewer backflow into the home during a flood event, which was a common issue during Superstorm Sandy. I am very thankful for my experience in construction management and in dealing with Superstorm Sandy recovery and resiliency projects for providing me with the background necessary to help make this program effective and successful.
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Education
B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), May 2012 Currently pursuing M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Manhattan College, expected graduation December 2019
Volunteer Opportunities
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as a sponsor or coach for an engineering club or team.
  • I am willing to serve as science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
Latest Questions
  • Katie A., Piedmont asked Stacy Clark, Center for NYC Neighborhoods

    Added Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 5:34 PM

    Is it hard to get into college? How much is the salary? Is the work fun?
    Related to Environmental, Preparation for College
    Answers 1
    Stacy Clark, Center for NYC Neighborhoods
    Answered Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 10:24 AM
    Luckily there are a wide variety of colleges with engineering programs - from public schools with rolling admissions to prestigious private schools with strict deadlines and low acceptance rates, and everything you can imagine in-between.
    
    The salary ...
    Read More
  • Melanie, Eudora Kansas asked Stacy Clark, Center for NYC Neighborhoods

    Added Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 1:17 PM

    Hi Stacy, I am a senior in high school and I am very set on becoming an environmental engineer. I have loved the environment and have been wanting to help it since a young age. I want to be able to get the most out of my education the future. I participate in high school Science Olympiad and I found to love learning about groundwater contamination and remediation. I don't know yet if that is what I want to pursue but living in the state of Kansas, I don't know if attending college in Kansas ...
    Related to Environmental, Internships & Jobs, Preparation for College
    Answers 1
    Stacy Clark, Center for NYC Neighborhoods
    Answered Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 10:20 AM
    Hi Melanie,
    
    I am SO sorry for the delayed response, and I bet this isn't going to be much help to you at this point, but hopefully it will be helpful to other folks reading this in the future.
    
    While I think people who attend college at a school ...
    Read More
  • Alicia, CT asked Stacy Clark, Center for NYC Neighborhoods

    Added Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 1:22 PM

    I've been doing some research online in regards to the job market for environmental engineers. I recently got my degree in Environmental Studies but was thinking to go back for a masters program in Environmental Engineering. After taking a few prerequiste classes I can be admitted in. After looking online about pursuing environmental engineer as a speciality I have seen many reviews saying that it would be better to pursue civil engineering instead. Also I have seen messages saying that the ...
    Related to Choosing a Degree, Environmental, Graduate School
    Answers 1
    Stacy Clark, Center for NYC Neighborhoods
    Answered Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 1:22 PM

    Hi Alicia,

    I apologize in advance that this answer is not going to be super straightforward.  I have a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from a school where the Civil & Environmental engineering departments were one in the same.  My ...

    Read More
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