Women Who Dared

Yvonne Y. Clark

Yvonne Young Clark

Yvonne Y. Clarke

Say her name! Yvonne Young Clark!


Yvonne Young Clark was an ASI fellow and the first woman to earn a degree in mechanical engineering at Howard University in Washington, D.C.and later the first African American woman to earn a master’s degree in engineering management from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Clark spent many summers at Frankfort Arsenal doing research on recoilless weapons. She also spent a summer working with NASA in Huntsville, Alabama where she investigated Saturn V engines for hot spots. She then spent a summer at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston working on containers to return moon samples to Earth. Clark did further research that discovered methods for revitalizing and modernizing part of the inner city through the Westinghouse’s Defense and Space Center in Baltimore, Maryland. As of the 1990s, her research focuses on refrigerants. She is the main investigator for the research project “Experimental Evaluation of the Performance of Alternative Refrigerants in Heat Pump Cycles” funded by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Clark was the student division team leader for the NASA funded project at TSU called the Center for Automated Space Science.

Yvonne Young Clark retired as a Professor Emerita in 2011 after serving on the Faculty at Tennessee State University in Nashville for 55 years. She died in her sleep on January 27. She was 89 years old. May she be remembered for her contributions and may she RIP.