Life Science Cares announced today that Elsy Sanchez has been named a Project Onramp intern for Frequency Therapeutics. She is one of 37 Massachusetts college students gaining professional experience at life science companies this summer as part of the biotechnology workforce development program, designed to help bridge the opportunity gap for underserved and minority students while building a pipeline of local and diverse talent in the life science industry.
Sanchez, 21, grew up in a bi-lingual household in Chelsea, Mass. where her parents settled after immigrating to the United States from Honduras years prior. As a child, she always had a passion for math and science as formulas were easy for her to understand. Now a rising senior at Salem State University, she mentors young people helping them to transition from high school to college as she works to earn a degree in Biology with a minor in Spanish and Chemistry. Sanchez will be the first in her family to graduate from college and, upon graduation, she plans to pursue her goal of improving the health of people from diverse, underserved communities, and to work doing biomedical research.
“Being a first-generation student has many challenges because most of the time I’m not aware of the different opportunities and careers,” says Sanchez. “During my internship, I have had mentors within the company that have helped me create a base for my career. Because of this experience, I know I can help others if I go into research or work in a Biotech company. I always wanted to be a doctor or physician’s assistant, but by doing research and potentially helping to create a drug, I will be helping a lot of people.”
As a summer intern at Frequency Therapeutics in Woburn, Mass., Sanchez is supporting the company across nearly all functions, including contributions to research and development, business development and corporate affairs. All of her work is being done remotely.
“Elsy has been a tremendous contributor for us this summer at Frequency,” said David L. Lucchino, CEO of Frequency Therapeutics and immediate past Chair of MassBio. “Project Onramp is about creating the future of our life science industry in Massachusetts. I have no doubt that, should she choose to pursue a career in life sciences, Elsy’s dedication and passion for the health of others will lead to a bright future for her and for any company or organization in her professional career path.”
Lucchino helped to launch the Project Onramp program during his tenure as Chair at MassBio.
“Working at Frequency has exposed me to professional opportunities I had never before considered,” Sanchez said. “It’s been eye-opening to learn about the complexity of biotech organizations and the many disciplines that need to come together in order to develop new medicines. It is clear that this path that will allow me to have an impact on patients’ lives and has validated my plans to enter this field after graduation.”
Frequency is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on harnessing the body’s innate biology to repair or reverse damage caused by a broad range of degenerative diseases. The company’s lead clinical candidate, now in phase 2a study, uses a small molecule approach to potentially restore hearing function to millions around the world with sensorineural hearing loss.
Created and sponsored by four of the nation’s leading life science organizations headquartered in Massachusetts – MassBio, MassBioEd, Life Science Cares and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, 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 non-profit committed to building strong connections for first-generation-to-college students.
“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,” says Sarah MacDonald, Executive Director for Life Science Cares. “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.”
Since its establishment in 2019, Project Onramp has placed more than 50 students in well-paid internships with top companies statewide. The program is funded in part by the State Universities of Massachusetts. For more information, visit: www.projectonrampma.com.
Life Science Cares (LSC) is a collective effort of the life science industry connecting companies with nonprofits that improve the lives of people living in poverty in Greater Boston and Philadelphia. In Boston, LSC harnesses the sector’s human and financial resources from companies and supports a portfolio of 27 nonprofit organizations. LSC’s partner organizations work to address basic survival needs (food, shelter, improve education, and develop job skills that increase long term economic sustainability for the community’s most vulnerable neighbors. For more information, visit: www.lifesciencecares.org.
MassBio’s mission is to advance Massachusetts’ leadership in the life sciences to grow the industry, add value to the healthcare system, and improve patient lives. MassBio represents the premier global life sciences and healthcare hub, with 1,300+ members dedicated to preventing, treating, and curing diseases through transformative science and technology that brings value and hope to patients. Founded in 1985, MassBio works to advance policy and promote education, while providing member programs, events, industry information, and services. For more information, visit www.massbio.org.
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an economic development investment agency dedicated to supporting the growth and development of the life sciences in Massachusetts, home to the most verdant and productive life sciences ecosystem in the world. Through public-private funding initiatives, the MLSC supports innovation, education, research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing activities in the fields of biopharma, medical device, diagnostics and digital health. Since its creation in 2007, the MLSC has strategically deployed over $700 million in Massachusetts, through a combination of grants, loans, capital infrastructure investments, tax incentives and workforce programs. These investments have created thousands of jobs and propelled the development of new therapies, devices and scientific advancements that are improving patient health and well-being in Massachusetts and beyond.
MassBioEd is dedicated to developing the region’s life sciences workforce with a focus on expansion, opportunity, and diversity. Since 2001, we have evolved into a unique link that connects students, educators, and industry professionals in programs that engage and excite teachers, inspire students, and illuminate pathways to careers and leadership in the industry. The cornerstones of our work — BioTeach and BioTalent — are inter-connected programs that ignite student interest and cultivate a field of diverse experts committed to solving some of the world’s most vexing challenges. To learn more, visit www.massbioed.org.