"The spring of my sophomore year marks not only the midpoint of my Stanford career but also a need for a change of pace, which came to me in the form of the SiNY program. While I have grown and learned a lot at Stanford, I wanted the challenge and experience of working and learning in an entirely new city, especially one so closely associated with dreams and opportunity, to help me reevaluate and/or reconfirm my goals and values."
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Sharon Tran and I’m a sophomore majoring in English with a Creative Writing emphasis. I’m also currently considering a minor in Human Rights. On campus, I’m involved with the Asian-American Theater Project, mostly taking on production roles and only recently performing on stage myself.
Why did you choose to attend Stanford in New York?
The spring of my sophomore year marks not only the midpoint of my Stanford career but also a need for a change of pace, which came to me in the form of the SiNY program. While I have grown and learned a lot at Stanford, I wanted the challenge and experience of working and learning in an entirely new city, especially one so closely associated with dreams and opportunity, to help me reevaluate and/or reconfirm my goals and values. I wanted to see who Sharon is outside of her hometown and outside of Stanford.
Where are you currently interning and what is your role?
I currently intern at PEN America, a non-profit at the intersection of literature and human rights that defends the freedom to write. More specifically, I report to Kim Chan and work on the team that plans and organizes the PEN World Voices Festival, an annual festival that invites 190+ writers and artists representing 50+ nationalities to New York to host more than 70 reading events, programs, and workshops. I’ve had the opportunity to not only work closely with the rest of the PEN World Voices intern team but also meet many interns working in other departments within PEN America. I’ve been busy since day one, and there is still a lot of work to be done, but I’m excited to see the event come together in a handful of weeks!
What has your experience in NYC been like so far?
New York is pretty much as lively and as bustling as movies, TV shows, and other people make it out to be. However, while I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy some of the more fun aspects of New York, such as watching a Broadway show, (window) shopping in the many flagship stores you can only find in NYC, and being dazzled by Times Square’s many billboards, New York has also given me the opportunity to see beyond its surface and understand the nuances of some of the better-known truths about the city. To any future student of the program, I’d like to say that the city can be overwhelming and there will be pressure to take it all in as soon as possible, especially given the relatively short, ten-week timeline of the program -- but do things at your own pace.
Though the city sometimes feels like it’s threatening to pass you by, you are just as likely to pass the city by if you don’t slow down. Take a breather every once in a while. Only then can you really enjoy the many things about New York City that makes it the unique city that it is.
What do you hope to do after you graduate?
I’m hoping that my next nine to ten weeks here in New York will help me get closer to answering this question with more confidence. However, as of now, after college I plan on working in the non-profit sector, most likely in the field of human rights and/or education. After a few years of work, I might consider going back to school to earn an MFA in Creative Writing (a long-time dream of mine) before returning back to work that has real and direct impact on the communities that I care about the most.
Sharon Tran, '21
STORY AND PHOTO COURTESY OF STANFORD UNDERGRAD STUDENT SPOTLIGHT