Hometown: Grand Junction, Colorado
Field: Biology, neuroscience
Teacher preparation program:
Anticipated date of graduation:
Brianna Balke is passionate about teaching underprivileged students and has immersed herself in classrooms serving underprivileged and at-risk youth. As an instructional assistant at Grand Junction, CO’s R-5 High School, and a volunteer with STRIVE, a student support group at Grand Junction High School, she has seen apathetic students barely passing their classes transform into students motivated to achieve academic success and attend college. She is aware of the challenges she will face as she continues along this path and excited to be a KSTF Fellow “because I know that support will be there for me when I need it.”
A magna cum laude graduate of Pomona College and a recipient of a neuroscience fellowship, Brianna believes that a shift in the way the American society regards teachers “will revolutionize our education system.” “When the teaching profession is well-respected, good teachers will be able to commit to a lifetime of teaching. Most importantly, when teachers are respected, students will thrive.”
Brianna’s penchant for taking on challenges goes beyond the classroom. An avid hiker, she has climbed to the top of nearly half of Colorado’s 54 peaks above 14,000 feet. Her other hiking conquests include Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Himalayas on Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit.