REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (March 20, 2023) – After a decade out of the office, Chenoa Clark has found a perfect match in her work at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center.
Clark is one of two human resource representatives for the Center’s outreach program, an initiative that puts DEVCOM AvMC people in schools to show students what is possible in the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
“It is the perfect mix of education and human resources,” Clark said.
Before taking on a full-time position at AvMC in 2022, Clark had taken time off from her career to be a stay-at-home parent. But as her children grew older and entered school, she started thinking about the next chapter of her life.
She considered entering education, but quickly realized that while she loved the teaching aspect, she did not enjoy the bureaucracy that went along with it. Clark decided instead to go back to school at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and obtain a master’s degree in human resource management.
When she spotted the job announcement for her current role, Clark thought that it might be exactly what she was looking for.
“I'm able to do something that I'm really passionate about – I get to be an advocate for women in science,” she said. “I honestly cannot believe I get to do this and get paid for it. It's a whole lot of fun and I get to meet interesting people and do interesting things.”
Clark hails from Sand Mountain, in the foothills of North Alabama, and thought that she would always stay in her hometown. But the opportunities in Huntsville drew her to the city, where she met her husband Drake, who also works for AvMC.
“He is from Florence and so we sort of met in the middle through a young professionals group. At the time, he worked for Lockheed Martin and I was a college recruiter,” she shared.
They now live in Meridianville, enjoying a small-town life that is increasingly hard to find as the metro area grows larger. After having their first two children, the Clarks felt led to expand their family and adopted their son from India. They recently brought home their daughter, also from India.
Family life and work keeps Clark busy, but she tries to make time in her life for music and can also be found at local Celtic festivals or restaurants behind a microphone as the lead singer of the Celtic band, Black Market Haggis. A lifelong singer, Clark was introduced to Celtic music while singing with the Huntsville Community Chorus and since then has performed with various Irish bands at events.
“It is a lot of fun – and busy around St. Patrick’s Day!” Clark said with a laugh.
Many women struggle with the decision to off ramp their career for their family. But after traveling that road and coming out on the other side with a career she loves, Clark has some advice for them:
“Networking is huge. You need to get out there and meet people. But my biggest advice is: don't give up. It can be so discouraging to keep getting those rejections, and interview after interview and not hearing back, but you will get there. If you'd asked me five years ago if I would be working a job like this, I wouldn't have thought so. Now I'm so happy here. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.”
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.