Student Profile: Sharon Briggs

Sharon Briggs
Hometown: Charleston, West Virginia

Undergraduate: BS, Carnegie Mellon University

Home Program: Genetics

Thesis Lab: Dr. Renee Reijo Pera & Dr. Julie Baker

Please describe your research area and interest.

I am interested in understanding X chromosome inactivation during the reprogramming process. Human stem cells can have two active X chromosomes or one active/one inactive X chromosome, and the causes and consequences of these two states are not well understood. Specifically, I am interested in studying human-induced pluripotent stem cells in the hopes that my work will help future stem cell transplants into women.

What is your dream job/long-term career goals?

I am currently looking for jobs in venture capital or consulting. I would love to be able to work with small start ups in the area trying to commercialize stem cell based products and help these companies design marketing and growth strategies for their business. I feel like this type of position will allow me to stay close to science and cutting edge research but also allow me to take a management role.

Why did you decide to attend Stanford?

Part of why I decided to come to Stanford was the fact that my home program was a small tight knit group but that we had access to faculty and students in all different departments. This allowed me to get to know professors and students pretty well but still have access to people across all programs.

Who are your sources of support at Stanford?

I get a lot of support from my classmates and friends that I have made over the last 4 years. I also have great thesis committee members who are always ready and willing to help me in any way possible. When my advisor left Stanford a year ago, one of my committee members welcomed me into her lab to finish my PhD here. I also find that having diverse extracurricular interests has also given me a number of support groups outside of science that are very valuable.

How do you bring diversity to Stanford Biosciences?

I grew up in West Virginia and, until a few months ago, had never met someone at Stanford (or during interviews) from my home state. I always feel the need to defend my hometown when it comes up in conversation, but have recently been able to really embrace that part of my identity.

What activities are you involved in outside of research?

I play soccer for a coed adult league in Palo Alto. I am also extremely involved in intramural (IM) sports at Stanford, playing soccer, volleyball, and basketball. I am involved in the Stanford Biosciences Student Association (SBSA) and have planned the first-year camping trip, organized all IM sports teams for SBSA, and been involved in organizing orientation and recruitment events. I also serve as a Community Advisor in graduate housing and plan events for diverse groups of graduate students. Finally, I have been involved in two summer programs at Stanford, Stanford Summer Research Program (SSRP) and Stanford College Prep (SCP).

What do you like best about graduate school at Stanford?

I love everything about graduate school and Stanford. I love that I get paid to do science! I love that I am surrounded by exceptionally smart people who like to talk about science. I love the freedom to study what interests me and to be challenged by things that no one knows or understands yet. I love the community at Stanford that is so supportive and encouraging. I love that I have opportunities to pursue whatever I am interested in outside of research as well and I can’t imagine a better job!