Meet Our Scholars

Every Project Onramp intern shares certain qualities: intellect, drive, a passion for science and an interest in helping people. Beyond that, each of our Life Science Scholars has unique stories to tell—stories about where they came from, what drives them, and what they hope to accomplish in their careers. Here’s a look at just a few of our interns!

Tsungai Jackson (2019)

Home town: Boston
College: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Internship: Kaleido Biosciences

Tsungai Jackson, 20, is no stranger to the world of internships.

“My love for internships and programs in science started when I was in middle school,” said Jackson, who emigrated from Zimbabwe when she was 12 years old. She quickly starts to list the programs she has participated in: an internship at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine; another at Harvard’s T.F. Chan School of Public Health; one at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute sponsored by the CURE program, and after graduating high school, a marketing internship at Sanofi Genzyme’s Hematology division.

Jackson said she is hungry for experience ever since she learned she loved science. “I was interning at Brigham and Women’s Hospital the summer after my junior year in high school,” she recalls. “I was focusing on gastric bypass surgery and how it can cause Type 2 diabetes to go into remission. I made my own research poster and we took a trip to Biogen’s Community Lab. Before that, I didn’t even know there was a biotechnology sector. I was like, ‘Oh my God!’”

This summer, Tsungai is packing in experience at Kaleido Biosciences, a company that is pioneering the use of metabolic therapies to alter the microbiome, the collection of microbes that live in each person’s gut and have been found to have a profound impact on overall health. She’s working in the chemistry lab, helping to synthesize and study new polysaccharides that can impact the microbiome.

Dedication? Tsungai shows it every day when she commutes from her home in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood to Kaleido’s offices in suburban Lexington, which involves two buses and a train and takes at least an hour and a half. “I really don’t like it when there are breakdowns on the train,” she said. “It doesn’t reflect well on me.”

Joseph and Solomon Abioye (2019)

Home town: Boston
College: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Internship: MassBio (Joseph), Biogen (Solomon)

Joseph and Solomon Abioye, brothers from Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, have followed similar educational paths. They have each attended Joseph Lee Elementary School, David Leadership Academy middle school, and Excel High School.

Now Joseph, 20, and Solomon, 22, each attend the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth. But as Project Onramp scholars, their paths have diverged: Joseph is working at MassBio, the industry group, in the public affairs group, while Solomon is working for Biogen in information technology.

For both, life sciences are new career options they weren’t fully aware of before their time with Project Onramp. “I saw this was a great opportunity to come in with my eyes open and saodk up all that I can about the life sciences,” said Solomon. His early assignments at Biogen involve improving user experience for employees who are using an online system to book conference rooms throughout the company.

Joseph said working in public policy is a natural extension to his studies in marketing. He has been conducting research to support white papers MassBio publishes.

In September, they will both return to UMass Dartmouth, Joseph as a junior and Solomon as a senior.

“We love doing things together,” said Solomon. “We’re pretty close.”

Project Onramp is ready to break down barriers and speed students from low-income backgrounds to success—while helping our member companies build the statewide labor pool and boost diversity.

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  • Lila Neel

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