From Park to the National Park Services

Shirley Miller Clark

Alumna Shirley Miller Clark and her husband, Robert

Shirley Miller Clark, ’61, always dreamed of being a scientist. “When I was in high school, I remember being told that being a scientist wasn’t practical for a girl, but that never derailed me. I knew my dream required a college education and I also knew my family couldn’t afford it.

Looking back, Shirley says the scholarship she received to attend Park changed the course of her life. “I’ll never forget the Park professors who became my mentors and encouraged me to not only earn a bachelor’s degree in biology at Park, but to take my education further,” she says.

With their guidance, Shirley applied for a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship that enabled her to attend the University of Washington in Seattle, where she earned a master’s degree in zoology. “I’ve always been drawn to the Northwest, yet it seemed like a long way from home for a small-town kid like me from Joplin, Missouri. With encouragement from my professors, I headed west.”

While working as a scientist for the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, she met her husband, Robert, an oceanographer. While raising their two children, Shirley was hired by the Pacific Northwest Regional Office of the National Park Service in Seattle, where she worked as a chief scientist for nearly 30 years until her retirement.

“My expectations for myself changed at Park. I gained the confidence and support to pursue a life I never thought was possible,” she says. “That’s why it’s important to me to give back to help other students discover what’s possible in their lives.”

With your future gift, you can help Park University students realize their potential and achieve their academic dreams. Contact Nathan Marticke at (816) 584-6844 or to learn how you can make a difference.