Alumna Profile: Marla Younge Clark

Posted on Jun 24, 2013 in Alumni News and News

The Black Alumni Chapter‘s e-newsletter regularly features profiles of interesting alumni and students. In the summer issue, get to know alumna Marla Younge Clark, e’88. If you have suggestions for future alumni or student profiles, please email Click here to read the e-newsletter.

What year did you graduate? 1988Maria Clark, e'88 |

What degree did you earn? Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering

Where is your hometown? I am from St. Louis. I graduated from Normandy High School and now I live in O’Fallon, Mo., which is part of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area.

What is your current position? I am the director of quality assurance for Nike IHM in St. Charles, Mo.

Which of your projects makes you the proudest? I really enjoy establishing project vision and purpose for groups and then helping them through implementation while bringing out the best in each player to achieve a common goal. As a Six Sigma quality improvement manager, I led a pretty large project where I got to witness this type of success unfold; in the end, we achieved a 50 percent reduction in service cycle times and increased market share. It is project success like this that fuels my passion for what I do for a living.

What are the top three things you love about KU?
1. The campus beauty! The architecture, the hills, the aged trees and the Campanile.
2. The minority engineering program (SCoRMEBE) and the team who made it work: Ms. Boldridge!
3. The people–Jayhawks love KU! I’m sure all school attendees have pride in their school, but everywhere I go, if I see a Jayhawk, I speak and they speak back with vigor and excitement!
Oh…and a close third would be KU Men’s Basketball!

Where did you hang out when you were a student? The benches outside Wescoe Beach were the primary hangout while on campus. I also spent a lot of time as a freshman and sophomore in the basement of Ellsworth Hall studying at all hours of the night, drinking cold coffee with milk and eating Checker’s Pizza with my engineering comrades.

Why did you choose KU? I was interested in architectural engineering, and Missouri schools did not offer that program. The choice then was between Iowa State and KU. I visited KU first and absolutely fell in love with the beauty of the campus! I never visited the other school. I knew I had to come to KU!

What do you think you will be doing in five years? In five years, I hope to have a doctorate degree in management. I see myself still working for Nike in some expanded capacity, continuing my consulting and speaking engagement activities, and I hope to begin writing the book I’ve always dreamed of writing.

What advice would you give current KU students? Find and follow your passion and have a vision for your life! The finding is hard. The following is even harder because obstacles present themselves routinely. But, if you can establish a vision in your head up front, the hiccups along the way won’t derail you from achieving the things you are really passionate about.

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