Briana Clarke

Physics Teacher at Envision Academy of Arts & Technology, Teaching Fellow at Knowles Science Teaching Foundation

Oakland, California

Class of 2014, Physics major


Clarke currently works in downtown Oakland teaching physics to underprivileged students of color. Outside of that she dances with La Cajon, an Afro Peruvian dance group much like Ekene, the African dance group she started on at SPU.

How does your time at SPU connect to what you’re doing today?

During my time at SPU I TA’d for many dear professors who helped train me for the work I do now. The Physics Education Department did a marvelous job of this. In additon, my work in the community at SPU, such as starting Zumba and Ekene, translates directly to how I work in the community now. I try to make sure that my students are exposed to culture and healthy, holistic habits.

Which SPU faculty or staff member made a difference in your education?

My entire physics department helped me finish my senior year after falling into a bout of depression and failed my fall senior quarter. I was supposed be an engineer, but hated engineering. I felt I would be letting family a friends down if I chose the role of an educator. However, Stamatis Vokos and Larry Gulberg mentored me, telling me stories of their own journey in teaching and their families. Their transparency and time invested in me gave me the confidence to succeed and answer my calling to teach.

What advice would you give to current SPU students?

This is only the beginning. A legacy is always one that takes time, and success is about the journey, not the destination.