Written by coWORKer Linda Jay

Suzanna Goldblatt Clark is our co-worker of the month for July. She and her family – her cowboy husband, 3 ½-year-old twins, and 10-month-old daughter, arrived in Petaluma a year ago.  “I love Petaluma,” Suzanna says with enthusiasm, “it has all the amenities you need, and yet feels like a small town in the best way. Every day I run into people I know; it’s delightful.”  She and her husband met in Canada, where he was managing a large cattle ranch, and the family now lives on a mixed-livestock ranch, just outside the Petaluma city limits, that Stephen manages for an absentee owner.

Suzanna was educated at Reed College in Oregon, and attended Oxford University in England for a year.  She pursued her Ph.D. in medical anthropology at the City University of New York Graduate Center but left the program A.B.D. to work in the technology industry.

Talk about excellent time management skills – Suzanna could easily teach a course on that subject.  Not only does she have a full-time job as a user experience researcher on the Adobe Design Team, but she also teaches on the weekends to eager students in the innovative (and accredited) Prison University Program at San Quentin.  The Program has 10 staff members and 100 volunteers.  More than 300 student-inmates enroll in PUP classes each semester.

“The overwhelming majority of the prisoners at San Quentin will eventually get out,” Suzanna observes, “and they will be our neighbors. An education provides these men with more opportunity once they return to the community.”  The students can transfer their PUP associate’s degree to four-year institutions such as UC Berkeley, after they are released.

Suzanna reflected on her year in the North Bay, saying, “When my husband was offered a job in Petaluma, we hesitated because the ranch has no Internet access or cell phone service, and it would have been too much to drive into San Francisco — making a 112-mile round-trip — every day. But we took a scouting trip to visit anyway and stopped in at Acre Coffee. No sooner did we sit down on the bench to enjoy our drinks than we saw WORK across the street. It was the sign we needed! Without WORK, we never would have been able to make the move!”

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