June 7, 2021

Project Onramp Celebration: A conversation with Virginia Burger and Tsungai Jackson

MLSC continues support of collaborative effort to help underserved students start their careers in life sciences with paid summer internships

Project Onramp remains ready to break down barriers and build opportunities for students from low-income backgrounds—while helping life science companies grow our Commonwealth’s labor pool and boost diversity. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is excited to continue its support of Project Onramp with $25,000 in funding for the 2021 program. The MLSC has provided $57,500 in funding support for Project Onramp since its launch in 2019, and also subsidizes intern wages for eligible companies through its Internship Challenge

Created and sponsored by four of the nation’s leading life science organizations headquartered in Massachusetts – Life Science Cares, MassBio, MassBioEd and the MLSC, Project Onramp matches undergraduate students with paid summer entry-level internships, which often lead to full-time employment. Also supporting the program is Bottom Line, a nonprofit committed to building strong connections for first-generation-to-college students. Since the program’s launch, Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI), Thrive Scholars, and Clark University have joined the effort as industry and student support partners.

Project Onramp is a platform through which students seeking careers in the field can access valuable hands-on experience through internships at local biotechnology companies they otherwise may not have access to. For many participating students, this is their first experience in the workforce. For participating employers, this is an opportunity to open doors for young people, many of whom are first generation or first to go to college in their families, into a growing and thriving industry.

Ahead of another successful year, Project Onramp stakeholders gathered on June 4, 2021 to learn more about the newest intern cohort of 125-plus students, hear success stories directly from our corporate partners and interns, and engage with leaders in the life science and diversity, equity, and inclusion space.

This included a conversation with MLSC President and CEO Kenn Turner and Tsungai Jackson, a Project Onramp and UMass Amherst alumna, and Virginia Burger, Project Onramp host and supervisor and Co-Founder & CEO of New Equilibrium Biosciences, a pioneering life science company created to discover and develop new medicines for life-threatening cancers and neurological diseases. Remarks were also offered by Massachusetts Housing Economic Development Secretary and MLSC Board Co-Chair Mike Kennealy, University of Massachusetts President and MLSC Board Member Marty Meehan, Life Sciences Cares Executive Director Sarah MacDonald, Project Onramp Program Manager Lila Neel, and MassBio Executive Vice President Zach Stanley.

For full video of the Project Onramp Celebration, click here.

To meet the class of 2021, click here.