Emily Briggs approaches her passions with significant dedication and perseverance


Senior Emily Briggs has never had a typical high school schedule. Ever since her freshman year, she’s spent half of her school day on the FHN campus, experiencing a different version of the average high school experience; while some students may find their passion in English or history, Emily has discovered hers in the STEM program.

Originally a part of a group of about thirty, Emily is now one of thirteen remaining students in her class. For the second half of the day, she and the other students take math and science classes in a block format together. The extended hours spent together have caused them to form strong bonds.

“My classmates and I have gotten really close over the past four years,” Emily said.”We [have spent] about 1,980 hours together.”

This past year, Emily has pursued her love of STEM even further through her senior internship project. Her objective is turning a Fisher-Price Power Wheels Wild Thing into a joystick-controlled wheelchair for kids who can’t operate a regular wheelchair.

The process has so far included removing the electronics from the inside and replacing them, as well as figuring out how to control the joystick. Emily found this to be the most difficult part of her project, due to some complications with the wheels.

“If your car turns and you turn the wheel, it goes forward,” Emily said, “but [with] this there’s two wheels that always face forward, [and] one sometimes goes faster than the other one. Like one will go backward, one will go forwards, or something like that.”

But once Emily solved that problem, her project wasn’t too tough. It has however required Emily to meet with little kids and ask their opinions about the wheelchairs. Somedays, instead of going to FHN, she travels to the Mary Free Bed Hospital to work on her project and talk with patients and their parents.

“Usually, [the kids] are concerned about the color or something,” Emily said, “but their moms usually just want something that they can afford because wheelchairs are really expensive.”

I’d say I approach life by finding things I like and sticking with them.”

— Emily Briggs

While Emily commits a large portion of her time to the STEM program, she’s also passionate about crew. She loves working together with eight other girls, each of them pushing individually but also working towards a common goal.

Like the STEM program, she’s been committed to crew since her freshman year of high school. Her hard work and dedication have paid off, and this year she is co-captain. The group of girls that she rows with has formed strong bonds working together for multiple years.

“I enjoy having so many friends on the team,” Emily said. “My co-captain Jayla Williams, and the three other seniors, Lauren Gesik, Grace Clinger, and Krystal Koski, have been rowing together since the dawn of time, and putting in the hours rowing with the same people really makes for good boat chemistry.”

Emily also loves crew because she loves to be outside and on the water.

“I’m an outdoorsy kind of person, and I really like fresh air,” Emily said. “When I attended Goodwillie, I think that’s when I started being passionate about both science and nature.”

There’s no doubt that Emily knows what she’s passionate about, and she is always sure to put in the time and effort it requires to become talented and involved. She manages to accomplish a variety of tasks by focusing on what’s in front of her and keeping her thoughts centered. With a driven mindset and a sureness of her passions, Emily is able to excel in her interests.

“I’d say I approach life by finding things I like and sticking with them,” Emily said. “I really like to try new things, but at the same time, I enjoy being very involved in things, and that’s something that takes a few years of dedication.”