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Bakari Clark

1195

Bold Points

27x

Nominee

1x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

As an aspiring city planner, an advocate for environmental justice, and a natural "people person" I have found my passion in making the world a better place for all future generations to come. Hello, My name is Bakari Clark and I am currently a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. I am currently pursuing a masters in City Planning, with a specific focus in Land Use and Environmental Planning. As I advance in my career my hope is to increase equitable access to healthy and sustainable environments for all residents living within the communities I've been blessed to serve. I am here today because as much as I love learning and applying the knowledge that I've gained, I am also fully aware that education comes at a cost. So with this being said, if you are currently on my profile, I just want to thank you for stopping by! Also if you're interested in learning more about some of the work I do or would like to share some of your own interests and research, please feel free to reach out! I am always willing to lend a listening ear because at the end of the day that's what community is all about! Thank you again Warmly, Bakari Clark

Education

University of Pennsylvania

Master's degree program
2023 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • City/Urban, Community, and Regional Planning

Temple University

Bachelor's degree program
2021 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • City/Urban, Community, and Regional Planning

Northern Virginia Community College

Associate's degree program
2020 - 2021
  • Majors:
    • City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning
  • Minors:
    • Spanish Language and Literature

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Architecture & Planning

    • Dream career goals:

      Urban Planner

    • Program Coordinator

      Germantown United Community Development Corporation
      2023 – Present1 year
    • Coordinator of Urban Ecology

      Philly Forests
      2021 – Present3 years

    Sports

    Lacrosse

    Varsity
    2016 – 20182 years

    Awards

    • Defense Player of the Year

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Dreaming Out Loud non-profit — While working at Kelly Miller Community Garden, l learn and participate in the maintenance of sustainable urban agriculture, through learning the techniques of composting, building raised beds and producing produce for community consumption.
      2020 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Stem EIC — My job at STEM EIC is to help create lesson plans that are engaging for the students yet still contain STEM objectives and to help guide the students through each project.
      2018 – 2021

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Philadelphia Black Entrepreneurs Grant
    When I think of my purpose in life, I think of my mother’s words about being the change I hope to see in the world. Through volunteering at community gardens and educating myself both in the classroom and during my free time, I had discovered that one of my purposes in life is to help bring awareness to the environmental injustices here in the United States and to come up with sustainable solutions to solve them. During my time in college, I have been given the opportunity to study subjects in environmental justice and found that according to the USDA’s Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food report, approximately 23.5 million Americans currently live within a food desert. With many of these neighborhoods lying in communities of color, food deserts are often connected to a higher risk of health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. As socioeconomic statistics like these continued to surface, I began to see more clearly how much of a luxury it is to have access to healthy food choices; yet, it has been the question of how to turn this access into an available commodity for all, that has driven me to become a part of the change that my mother once spoke to me about. My first step to making an impact that will help to alleviate environmental injustices such as these is through my internship at an urban farm called Philly Forest, which is based in West Philadelphia. While working at Philly Forest, I have been given the task of growing and preparing the produce that goes off to the Germantown Farmers Market every Saturday where we sell our fresh fruits and vegetables alongside other vendors. Furthermore, I have been given the responsibility of looking over and coordinating our urban forestry sector as well! During my time working with this urban agricultural start-up, I have seen how important it is to create more green spaces within our city. For example, we currently have 18 trees that will be planted within neighborhoods that have a lower tree canopy coverage than what can be seen in the more affluent areas of Philadelphia. This can ultimately have a significant impact on the health of the residents in the communities with fewer trees since this causes the heat island effect to occur. When it comes to my own entrepreneurial goals, I envision myself continuing this mission through the use of urban ecology and urban planning. I plan to have my own urban farm within our city that will not only focus on making fresh produce more accessible to all but will also act as a model of what environmental equity truly consists of. In order to work towards this goal, not only am I getting hands-on experience at a local farm here in Philadelphia, but I am also currently a student at Temple University, aiming to receive my bachelor’s degree in Community Development and urban and environmental planning. However, before going any further with my future career and educational goals, I must first find the funding to help get me there. Unfortunately, my family and I are not in the financial position to fund my next steps of obtaining my education at Temple University from our pockets. With me being the third child to go off to college, neither of my parents can afford to help me the way they have helped my first two siblings in the past, and I completely understand that. Therefore, in order to still achieve my goals, I continue to work hard to relieve this stress off of my parents by maintaining a 3.97 GPA and applying for scholarships. This is why I am here today, because not only do I truly believe that my impact in my career field of environmental planning and urban agriculture will be one of great significance but also because I know that in order to do so, I must step up and ask for the help I need to achieve all that I have in-store for myself.
    Black Entrepreneurs of Philadelphia Scholarship
    Winner
    When I think of my purpose in life, I think of my mother’s words about being the change I hope to see in the world. Through volunteering at community gardens and educating myself both in the classroom and during my free time, I had discovered that one of my purposes in life is to help bring awareness to the environmental injustices here in the United States and to come up with sustainable solutions to solve them. During my time in college, I have been given the opportunity to study subjects in environmental justice and found that according to the USDA’s Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food report, approximately 23.5 million Americans currently live within a food desert. With many of these neighborhoods lying in communities of color, food deserts are often connected to a higher risk of health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. As socioeconomic statistics like these continued to surface, I began to see more clearly how much of a luxury it is to have access to healthy food choices; yet, it has been the question of how to turn this access into an available commodity for all, that has driven me to become a part of the change that my mother once spoke to me about. My first step to making an impact that will help to alleviate environmental injustices such as these is through my internship at an urban farm called Philly Forest, which is based in West Philadelphia. While working at Philly Forest, I have been given the task of growing and preparing the produce that goes off to the Germantown Farmers Market every Saturday where we sell our fresh fruits and vegetables alongside other vendors. Furthermore, I have been given the responsibility of looking over and coordinating our urban forestry sector as well! During my time working with this urban agricultural start-up, I have seen how important it is to create more green spaces within our city. For example, we currently have 18 trees that will be planted within neighborhoods that have a lower tree canopy coverage than what can be seen in the more affluent areas of Philadelphia. This can ultimately have a significant impact on the health of the residents in the communities with fewer trees since this causes the heat island effect to occur. When it comes to my own entrepreneurial goals, I envision myself continuing this mission through the use of urban ecology and urban planning. I plan to have my own urban farm within our city that will not only focus on making fresh produce more accessible to all but will also act as a model of what environmental equity truly consists of. In order to work towards this goal, not only am I getting hands-on experience at a local farm here in Philadelphia, but I am also currently a student at Temple University, aiming to receive my bachelor’s degree in Community Development and urban and environmental planning. However, before going any further with my future career and educational goals, I must first find the funding to help get me there. Unfortunately, my family and I are not in the financial position to fund my next steps of obtaining my education at Temple University from our pockets. With me being the third child to go off to college, neither of my parents can afford to help me the way they have helped my first two siblings in the past, and I completely understand that. Therefore, in order to still achieve my goals, I continue to work hard to relieve this stress off of my parents by maintaining a 3.97 GPA and applying for scholarships. This is why I am here today, because not only do I truly believe that my impact in my career field of environmental planning and urban agriculture will be one of great significance but also because I know that in order to do so, I must step up and ask for the help I need to achieve all that I have in-store for myself.
    Act Locally Scholarship
    If I told you that a utopia was achievable, would you believe me? A place where love and unity radiate from the smiles of every man and child, as they reach to obtain their own ideas of success. A community based upon support and equal opportunity for all, giving everyone a fair chance at achieving the American dream, no matter their race, sexuality, or socioeconomic status. When I think of my purpose in this world, I envision myself being a part of the change needed to create a unified community such as this one. For the past three years, I have worked diligently to build a healthy environment through both my studies and participating within my community. An example of my participation can be seen in me actively working with local farmers and urban gardeners near me to help mitigate the food insecurity crisis. Through volunteering, I have been given the opportunity to feed my neighbors as well as those who live in under-resourced communities, such as food deserts. With 19 million Americans living within neighborhoods that are classified as food deserts, food insecurity and lack of proper nutrition can have a major impact on one's health, productivity, and overall outlook on life. Therefore, when I am working alongside community leaders at my local farms and gardens, I know that every seed we plant represents a family being fed; and this alone has always been enough to bring me back again with helping hands. When my hands are not in the dirt helping to grow food, they can be found in my local STEM center teaching and showing children the different ways science, technology, engineering, and mathematics play a role in our day-to-day society. By creating objectives that give the children the freedom to create whatever their imagination entails, allowing them to see the power of STEM without making them feel constricted but rather like engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and most of all, like themselves. We encourage each child to have confidence in their imagination and their ideas, and as a result, we hope to create an impact on them that will last forever; this impact being the reassurance needed to know that it is okay to think outside the box. Along with finding ways to make a difference within my community today, I have also been focused on educating myself on the important matters of community building and planning. With my time at Northern Virginia Community College coming to a close, I plan on transferring to Temple University this fall to complete my bachelor’s degree in Community Development. During my time in Philadelphia, my goal is to continue to work within the community around me, all while still working towards obtaining my degree. By being in a city, I hope to gain as much knowledge as possible both in and outside the classroom, through hands-on volunteering, joining different organizations, and making the connections needed to continue to succeed. This way, when it is time for me to finally branch out and begin my very own organization, I can do so with confidence knowing that all the information I had learned along the way is finally being put to use. As I continue to move forward, I cannot help but acknowledge how much my past has influenced how much significance I put on building a strong community. At a young age, I had to watch as my dysfunctional family dynamic fell to pieces in front of me. While my father and mother faced a difficult divorce, leaving my mother to find comfort in the bottom of every bottle she drank and my father to find peace in being anywhere but home, I found a sense of family in all but those whose job it was to raise me. Whether this is coaches or the mothers of my friends, I was blessed enough to have a strong support system of adults within my community to show me right from wrong even when my parents could not. With this guidance, I was able to experience what it truly felt like to be a child raised by the village that surrounds them. This is why I continue to show up for my community because I understand that there are other children and people out there like me, who just need to hear that there is someone who cares about them and sees their potential. By creating an environment that is safe and loving, we each have the opportunity to impact each other's overall wellbeing, whether we acknowledge this or not. Therefore, when I think about the change I hope to see in my community, I know deep down, that it is obtainable if we each play our part. I see a place where no mouth is left unfed, and no child is left feeling unloved or unheard. With this being said, if I can be a part of even a fraction of that change, I can go to bed every night knowing that my purpose on this earth is being fulfilled.
    Amplify Green Innovation Scholarship
    As the effects of climate change continue to make its way into the forefront of every global discussion, I have found interest in the connection between climate change and mass migration and food scarcity both in the present and in the future. With mass migration predicted to displace more than 143 million people by 2050, cities across the world must continue to prepare themselves for the expansion in the number of citizens they must protect and provide for. Coupled with the stress of mass migration, it is the issue of creating a more sustainable environment that supports all that I hope to help solve. This upcoming fall, I plan on continuing to work towards obtaining my bachelor's degree in community development and urban planning at Temple University in Philadelphia. During my time there, I hope to learn as much as I can about the subject of both urban and environmental planning. While I continue to focus on my education and career, I also have been working on helping to fight food insecurity by working within community gardens and at local farms near Washington D.C.. As climate change continues to shift our environment completely, food scarcity has and will continue to be a prevalent issue that we, as a society, will be forced to face. By finding work alongside community leaders within the urban agriculture sector of community development, I aim to gain real world knowledge that will someday help me to own my own farm that works to help feed communities that are affected by these conditions. With this being said, as the world looks to find a more sustainable way of living that helps alleviate the impact of climate change, I am most excited to see the change in our country's agricultural system. With phrases such as “shop local” and “reduce, reuse, recycle” taking presence in mainstream media when looking to promote everyday solutions to climate change, I am interested in seeing how this will play a role in how our agricultural land is put to use. As 90 million acres of U.S. farmland is used to produce solely corn, we have strayed far away from our traditional ways of cultivating that have been used in previous generations which are more diverse in produce. However, as the effects of climate change force us to change the way we currently live, I am hopeful that the way we treat our land will begin to change in a more positive manner. Furthermore, I strongly believe that this is where the hope for our country's future lies because our agricultural system affects not only what we consume but also how we view the world around us; as we each begin to find ourselves reconnecting with our land and the food we consume, we will begin to see the importance of our connection to our worlds environment as a whole.
    Bold Activism Scholarship
    When I think of my purpose in life, I think of my mother’s words about being the change I hope to see in the world. Through volunteering at community gardens and educating myself both in the classroom and during my free time, I have discovered that one of my purposes in life is to help bring awareness to the environmental injustices here in the United States and to come up with sustainable solutions to solve them. During my time in college, I have been given the opportunity to study subjects in environmental justice and found that according to the USDA’s Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food report, approximately 23.5 million Americans currently live within a food desert. With many of these neighborhoods lying in communities of color, food deserts are often connected to a higher risk of health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. As socioeconomic statistics like these continued to surface, I began to see more clearly how much of a luxury it is to have access to healthy food choices; yet, it has been the question of how to turn this access into an available commodity for all, that has driven me to become a part of the change that my mother once spoke to me about. My first step to making an impact on alleviating environmental injustice is heading to Temple University in Philadelphia this fall to complete my bachelor’s degree in Community Development and Urban and Environmental Planning. During my time in Philadelphia, my goal is to work side by side with community leaders within communities of color as I gain real-world insight and hands-on experience within the field of city planning. For example, a major project that I would like to help assist with while at Temple University is working to build more green spaces in communities and neighborhoods of color. As for my time following Temple University, I plan to continue on to get my master’s degree in Urban Planning with a concentration in Environmental Planning and Healthy Cities at the University of California Berkeley. The reason I chose these two institutions is that they both lie in the heart of two major cities that hold a fairly large population of people affected by food scarcity. This gives me the opportunity to learn more about subjects such as racial and economic inequalities and to help come up with solutions that can mitigate these deep-rooted problems. While I continue to plan for the future, I know that I have to put in the work today in order to see my goals of tomorrow succeed. This is why I have been volunteering at a community garden in Washington DC through a nonprofit, named Dreaming Out Loud. At Kelly Millers Community Garden, the goal is to help fight food insecurity within DC’s Ward 7. On the 2-acre lot, we grow foods that can be served to the surrounding neighborhoods all while still making time to teach students, of every age, about the benefits of urban agriculture. Furthermore, with Spring being right around the corner, volunteering at Kelly Miller’s also grants me the opportunity to see what it would be like to run my own community garden in the future. However, before going any further with my future career and educational goals, I must first find the funding to help get me there. Unfortunately, my family and I are not in the financial position to fund my education at Temple University from our pockets. With me being the third child to go off to college, neither of my parents can afford to help me the way they have helped my first two siblings in the past and I understand that. Therefore, to still achieve my goals, I have and continue to work hard to maintain my 3.9 GPA in hopes to relieve some of that stress off their shoulders through scholarships. This is why I am here today, because not only do I truly believe that my impact in my career field of environmental and city planning will be one of great significance but also because I know that I must take that first step by asking for the help I need to achieve all that I have set out for.