Peta-Gay Clarke

Peta-Gay Clarke

Peta-Gay Clarke ’15 is always looking toward the future. She’s the program lead for Google’s Code Next, a group pioneering efforts to increase opportunities for women and underrepresented youth in STEM. It’s a cause close to her heart. “Prior to joining Google, I worked in various industries as a software engineer and then as a deputy director of IT. In many of these positions, I was often the only woman, the only person of color, and usually the youngest on my team.”

Clarke joined Google in 2015. Part of the grassroots efforts to lift the Code Next program, it began as a pilot with only 50 students in Oakland, CA, as well as NYC. “Our goal was to establish a robust high school technology pathway program [...] with a vision to cultivate the next generation of transformational Black and Latinx tech leaders,” she explained. This wildly popular program has since expanded to include more than 1,000 students with a 50/50 gender split across all their cohorts. And their first group of students will be graduating high school this year!

“When I came to Pace, I was a single mom, working full-time, looking for upward career mobility,” Clarke explained. “I want to see more women—especially single moms—have the same opportunity that I did.” She graduated Pace with an MS in Information Systems and now, not only is she an adjunct professor, but she’s also an alumni member of the Advisory Board for the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, and she recently joined Pace’s Board of Trustees (see page 10).

Her efforts to open doors in STEM continued when Clarke spearheaded the launch of a Black Girls CODE chapter in NYC, too, but her greatest accomplishment, she said, is her daughter. “Being a career mom for the last 14 years has been such a rollercoaster,” Clarke said. “I am proud to be a mom to a beautiful, smart, and fearless young lady.” 

In the true spirit of inspiration, Clarke left us with a quote from Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”