FSU Student Is First Recipient of a New Life Sciences Internship Opportunity

FSU Student Is First Recipient of a New Life Sciences Internship Opportunity

Jan 29, 2019

Framingham State Sophomore Cristina Foster is the first recipient of an exciting new life sciences internship opportunity made possible by Project OnRamp, a program designed by the state’s biotechnology industry to boost diversity and support hardworking students from low-income backgrounds.

Foster spoke no English when her family immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republican at age 9. All she had was a strong work ethic and the dream of becoming a pediatrician when she grew up.

“Hard work and perseverance are not always enough,” Foster says. “Sometimes you need support from initiatives like Project OnRamp.”

The new program, which was announced at Framingham State University on January 29th, will match 50 talented, first-generation students from low-income backgrounds with well-paid summer internships at the state’s top life sciences companies.

“Project Onramp is a prime example of how we can find innovative solutions to problems when industry and government come together,” said Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This program will build on our goal of promoting workforce training and investing in the skills of Massachusetts works and I look forward to seeing its progress.”

Project Onramp is sponsored by four organizations that work to build the industry in Massachusetts and maximize its positive impact on the community: MassBio, MassBioEd, Life Science Cares and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

“For students seeking a career in the life sciences, there is nothing as effective as an internship at a local biotech company,” said David Lucchino, chairman of MassBio and CEO of Frequency Therapeutics. “But at many companies, internships go unpublicized and are reserved for those with personal connections. Project Onramp will break down those barriers and enable a new, diverse group of young people to contribute to the important work we’re doing in Massachusetts.”

Bottom Line, a nonprofit that helps first-generation-to-college students from low income backgrounds get into college, successfully graduate and find meaningful careers, will match students who are attending four-year colleges with summer internships of up to 12 weeks created by local biotechnology companies. The paid internships will include lab and scientific positions as well as business disciplines such as finance, human resources and marketing.

“Biotech is among the most exciting industries in the Commonwealth, but too often these job opportunities are out of reach for hardworking students from underrepresented communities, who lack the connections needed to get their foot in the door,” says Framingham State President F. Javier Cevallos. “We are truly grateful to the biotech community, led by MassBio and the Mass Life Sciences Center, for developing an innovative program that addresses this very issue.”

Julie Campbell, the head of Diversity & Inclusion for North America at Merck, as well as a Framingham State alum, says her company has reserved four internship slots for Project OnRamp students for the summer of 2019.

“We are eager to engage with passionate, talented young people who can contribute to our success while building their own futures in life sciences,” she says.

Life sciences companies that want to participate in this transformative program can get more information and commit internships to Project Onramp by visiting www.ProjectOnrampMA.com.

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.