Meet Our Interns

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 Interns 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!

Kendyl Washington

Home town: Oakland, California
College/University: Tulane University
What are you studying? Undecided
Internship: Life Science Cares

When Kendyl was exploring what kinds of internships she wanted to do over the summer, she knew that Life Science Cares was the place for her. As someone who has a passion for community service and supporting the less fortunate, she knew that the work Life Science Cares conducts would be perfect for her. After speaking with Aisha Baro, Executive Director at Life Science Cares Bay Area, an internship opportunity was born. Kendyl will be working with the team to create a video and assist with fundraising for an event in the Fall. The work will align with what she has worked on in the past, like the completion of her Girl Scouts Gold Award project in the summer of 2021, which involved video developing and fundraising. This has been lining up as the perfect opportunity for her!

In her internship, Kendyl hopes to gain greater confidence when presenting and sharing her ideas with others. She will continue to use the skills learned during her internship and apply them to her studies at Tulane University. Kendyl also hopes that her internship will allow her to learn more about her career aspirations in the future after graduating from Tulane.

Jolaiya Aldridge

Home town: San Mateo, California
College/University: University of Southern California
What are you studying? Human Biology
Internship:
Denali Therapeutics

Jolaiya is currently a Human Biology major on the pre-physical therapy track at USC. She first became interested in a career in life sciences because of her previous history with ACL injuries and her enjoyment of working in the lab and running experiments during as an undergrad. She became interested in Denali after learning about their company values and desire to make the world a better place. During her internship at Denali, she hopes to learn more about herself as an activist for social justice as well as how this passion can be implemented in a biology career. When she returns to school again in the fall, she hopes to use the leadership and communication skills she plans to develop further during her time at Denali. Outside of school and working on her career, some of her passions are baking, jewelry making, and working out. She is the freshman ambassador at her school’s Black Student Association’s E-board and the Social Justice Chair for her dorms community council. She said “finding ways to get involved in my surrounding community as well as becoming more aware of the social systems that run our country is what drives me. I hope that as I go through college I continue to grow and become a more well rounded human being.”

Andrea Nevarez-Peña

Home town: San Mateo, California
College/University: University of Redlands
What are you studying? Health, Medicine, and Society
Internship:
 Revolution Medicines

Andrea is a first generation college student. This has become a big part of her identity as the first in her family to attend college, but also the first in her family that hopes to pursue a career in medicine. Her aspirations to pursue a career in medicine comes from her experiences growing up, where she witnessed the disparities her parents faced with healthcare – from not being able to understand the physician to not having access to healthcare plans. She has come to realize how difficult it is for minority groups to not only have access to healthcare, but also benefit from it as well. Combining this with her passion for science, she wanted to find an internship with a company that involved both medicine and a focus on the community they are serving. She chose Revolution Medicine because of their connection with their patients. She was intrigued to find out that Revolution Medicine stays connected to the patients they help, which is something she would like to focus on in her career. She says “through this internship, I hope to learn more about the careers in medicine. I have always thought that I wanted to work as a Physician, but now, I realize there are so many career paths in medicine; from clinical research, patient care, and more, I can go in any path that I desire.”

Asupa E Milla

Home town: East Palo Alto, California
College/University: Sacramento State University
What are you studying? Sociology
Internship: Gilead

As a first generation college student of Tongan descent, Asupa’s family has always been her motivation especially when it comes to academics and future career aspirations. She is interested in pursuing an internship in human resources or in corporate philanthropy. An internship in human resources has interested her because there are so many similarities to what she’s learning in school as a Sociology major such as being able to work with others and understanding what customers and emplyees want and need. Choosing to work at Gilead was a natural choice for her. She wanted to work for a company with a strong corporate philanthropy mission. She says “I have always had a passion for working with those in the community directly, and I am interested because corporate philanthropy focuses on investments and activities that the company does voluntarily through working directly with the community for a positive impact on society.” During her internship, she wants to broaden her education in the life sciences field and be exposed to possible careers. She also hopes to gain useful job experience, be able work with others, learn something new, and have a sense of future career options.

Erina Chen

Home town: San Mateo, California
College/University: UC Santa Cruz
What are you studying? Human Biology
Internship: Atum

Erina has always enjoyed anatomy and biological sciences so any type of life sciences or evolutionary ecology of that nature always fascinated her. She wanted to pursue an internship that both aligned with her interests and the opportunity to be able to make subtle impacts with others. During her internship, she wants to gain experience in different fields and grow new and existing skills. She hopes through her internship experience, she will be to see if her interests can turn into a possible career path. She says “I generally also want to push the limit of my skills and knowledge, and to keep increasing my foundation of different skills while also working with a wide range of people. I hope to go back to school and be able to apply similar skills that I’ve been using in the internship to different classes, and possibly sign up to join research groups”. Outside of school and career interests, she also loves activities that involve her hands and puzzle-solving. She enjoys being active and keeping in shape, meeting new people and experiencing new things to add into her own repertoire of memories.

Dulce Pacheco Alvarez

Home town: East Palo Alto, California
College/University: Brown University
What are you studying? Undecided (Sociology and Public Policy or Education)
Internship:
Life Science Cares

Through higher education, Dulce has had access to knowledge. She wants to take advantage of that by learning about significant issues and the ways people have reacted and responded to them. She wants to understand better why long-standing social issues have not been dealt yet in our society and the ways these issues have shaped our society. She says “I am interested in understanding why people do the things they do and their effects on others. But to truly understand someone or something, there are many skills that I would want to develop, which leads me to my enthusiasm for working with Life Science Cares”. Her intention for the summer is to take an opportunity to develop skills and try new things. She wants to learn more about opportunities within life science by having experience outside of her comfort zone, learn new things, and potentially develop a new passion. Within Life Science Care, she wants a new way of understanding and thinking about the issues she is interested in pursuing.

Amanda Chevalier

Home town: Santa Clarita, California
College/University: Arizona State University
What are you studying? Communications 
Internship: Life Science Cares

When Amanda Chevalier was first exposed to the life science industry through her mother and her uncle’s career paths, she knew she wanted to follow in their footsteps. Amanda knew she had a passion for wanting to help people and was looking for an industry and a company to align to her goals. Amanda is familiar with Life Science Cares’ mission and wanted an opportunity to partner and learn more about the industry, other life science companies, and learn where her skills and talents would most align for a future career. She hopes to learn how best to help underserved communities learn about life sciences, and work in a corporate environment alongside business professionals. Amanda Chevalier’s goal is to have a career in the life sciences and to utilize this experience to prepare for interviews and beyond. Amanda is very excited to work on a project and fulfill a need that will allow her to learn more about this industry. She is strongest when working with groups and she is excited to be partnering with Life Science Cares’ to support its mission.

Magaly Vargas-Rodales

Home town: San Carlos, California
College/University: University of Redlands
What are you studying? HMS & Spanish minor in Business administration
Internship: Sutro Biopharma

Being a first generation college student, Magaly has had to do everything on her own. While her journey has had some ups and downs, she is grateful for everything that she has been through. Magaly says “I am interested in pursing a career in life sciences because I want to connect that bridge that there is between the lower income communities. There are so many resources that are offered to them, yet many don’t take advantage of them because they are not aware about them”. She had the opportunity to work with Sutro last summer as an assistant and she loved working with the Quality Control team. She learned so much from them and she’s excited to be working with them again this summer. She hopes that as an intern, she will get to see different sides of Sutro. For example, now that she’s added a minor in business administration, she would love to see how that side of Sutro runs. She can not wait to gain more pipetting techniques and hopefully be able to run her own assays. She also hopes that this internship helps her gain more knowledge on how we can all help build that bridge. Outside of school and career interests, Magaly enjoys going on hikes, spending time outdoors and going out to eat with friends. Her favorite drink is boba drinks and she’s always happy to explore new boba places. Her mom is her inspiration. Magay says “she is always encouraging me to be kind and not afraid of a challenge, I value extremely the sacrifices that my parents have done in order to ensure a better education for my siblings and I”.

Andrea Morales

Home town: San Mateo, California
College/Unversity: College of San Mateo
What are you studying? Biology (Pre-Med), Minor in Chemistry
Internship: Genentech

Andrea loves seeing, as humans and as a society, we are always involving, and science is no different. She believes there is a lot of impact that we can create in science and she wants to be part of the future evolution of science and medicine. She says “my dream is to become a neurosurgeon and I have been inspired growing up and seeing my Auntie help people as a nurse”. Today, she is building her own future by learning and finding new ways to grow as a woman in science. She’s been looking for the perfect opportunity for a number of years. She believes programs like Project Onramp can help you learn, grow and gain the experience we need to be able to pursue our own career interests. She hopes networking will connect her to a support system that can guide her to become who she wants to be. Her biggest hope is to develop and grow profesionally in her field of interest, like developing lab skills. She has done other internship programs, but they haven’t given her the experience she was looking for in the life sciences field, so she hopes this program will be able to guide her to be the best she can be as she’s very eager to learn. Andrea wants to leverage what she’s been learning in lab classes in her internship and hopefully find a part-time job that will allow her to continue learning and developing her skills. Outside of pursuing career interests, Andrea is a student leader and an activist. She says “seeing the positive impact being made in her community has inspired me to keep working on being the best version of myself, keep pursuing my dream career & to keep making a difference in my community by doing good”.

Nancy Moran

Home town: East Palo Alto, California
College/University: University of Southern California
What are you studying? Civil Engineering
Internship: Genentech

Nancy says “the best classroom is being out and using my knowledge in the real world”. While she was doing an internship in high school, she became interested in engineering. This has led her to want to choose an engineering major, but she couldn’t decide which particular engineering field. Her experience with the civil engineering internship had a lot of impact on her. She wanted to be in a place in the future to say “I help built that”. When thinking about her internship at Genentech, she hopes she will get more professional experience and be more hands-on. She is excited to start her internship over the summer and continue expanding her skills. Nancy is motivated by being a Hispanic woman in the STEM field. She wants to show other girls that they can be anything they want to be no matter what.

Brianna Arroyo

Home town: San Mateo, California
College/University: Yale University
What are you studying? Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Internship: Genentech

Brianna has always had a fascination with bodily systems, cellular processes, and the complex coordination between these components but found it surprising to hear about the lack of female and racial minority representation in the STEM industry as well as the inequities in healthcare accessibility. Thus, the life sciences industry merges her fascination with biological topics and her passion for supporting the communities from which she came, including ones made up of first-generation, low-income, and Latino/a-identifying individuals.

While she has had exposure to university lab research and manufacturing processes of biomedical devices, Brianna has not yet had the opportunity to intern at a pharmaceutical company. She says “I still recall my very first visit to Genentech’s site in South San Francisco as a middle school student through the Peninsula Bridge program and find it amazing to think that I now have the opportunity to serve as an intern there seven years later because of the guidance I received from Peninsula Bridge since my elementary school years and from Life Science Cares during my search for summer opportunities”.

She hopes that her participation in Genentech’s Pharmaceutical Development branch will allow her to implement her acquired skills and knowledge from her studies and past summer experiences. She says “as a first-generation college student, it is difficult to gauge the wide variety of careers in the life sciences industry outside of practicing medicine or higher-level research, so I am also excited to gain a better understanding of the pharmaceutical industry and its different functions as it pertains to marketing, outreach, finance, sustainability, and inclusion efforts”.

She believes that networking with professionals who have succeeded in their careers and learning about their own trajectories to reach the positions in which they currently find themselves will help narrow her own interests and clarify her goals post-college graduation. Nevertheless, no matter which path she chooses, along with building up her career and offering new perspectives in the work environments she find herself in, she wants to serve an advocate and mentor for future young Latinas who are interested in pursuing STEM and who strive to be life-long learners.

Outside of school, she loves staying active, connecting with her culture, spending time with her family, and learning new practical skills. She is currently on the Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Yale team, and she enjoys watching professional soccer as a way of staying in touch her family back in California. She spend her hours outside of academics teaching herself subjects related to financial literacy, which allows her to better educate her family. Brianna also loves to learn new languages and giving back to younger Peninsula Bridge students and families with her growing knowledge and ongoing experiences during her higher education journey.

Alondra Manriquez

Home town: East Palo Alto, California
College/University: St. Edward’s University
What are you studying? Biology with a Concentration in Graduate School
Internship: Genentech

Growing up, understanding her grandmother’s health journey battling diabetes was complicated for Alondra. Her grandmother’s trips to the hospital, eating a specific diet, surgeries, and so on seemed normal to her as her grandmother would overcome every health scare. However, as she grew into a teenager, she was more involved in her grandmother’s health journey. Alondra served as a translator for her grandma and family members during her grandma’s visits to the hospital, appointments, and nurse home visits. Alondra was exposed to medical terms, practices, and the uses of different drugs. At this point, she understood the severity of this disease. Unfortunately, Alondra’s grandmother passed away 5 years ago. Her grandmother is Alondra’s biggest influence today because her ability to overcome adversity has impacted Alondra’s life and the career path she wants to take. As a fearless and ambitious woman, Alondra’s grandma inspired her to pursue her interest in biology through her grandma’s health battle with diabetes.

While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, she makes an effort to connect her excitement for learning and her desire to help people. Alondra says “I enjoy and excel working in labs and soon realized that I don’t have to work at a hospital necessary to improve a community’s health conditions and medical needs. I have shadowed scientists while interning at biotech companies like Neuralink, Eikon Therapeutics, and Arcus Biosciences and aspire to be like them one day. I have been able to work in the Drug Discovery Department preparing Si-rhodamines used for imaging to working with vet technicians and research animals on brain-machine interface safety to help individuals with brain and spinal injuries be able to do any movement they wish to with just a simple thought. Having conversations with the scientists about what I’ve learned in my undergrad education and applying it to real-world situations is rewarding”.

When Alondra’s academic advisor suggested she apply for Project Onramp, she was thrilled to hopefully be a part of this amazing program that helps passionate and driven low-income students like herself explore a wide range of internships to gain real-life experiences and be competitive in the work field. She is thankful that Project Onramp believes in her and her capabilities by helping her search for internships and preparing her for her interview process. She aspires to help others with life-threatening diseases live long and enjoyable lives with their families as she works in a lab developing treatments and medications. She hopes one day she will partake in narrowing the gap between socioeconomic status and treatments by making the medications and therapies affordable and accessible to underserved communities as well.

Daniel Gamino Navarro

Home town: San Mateo, California
College/University: UC Riverside
What are you studying? Physics
Internship: Sutro Biopharma

Daniel’s primary interest stems from the idea of how an opportunity to study within a professional STEM field is rare. What he means by this is that it’s not easy for someone in his field to understand what it’s like to work in his field given how hard it is to get in contact with professionals of a specified STEM field. Not only this, but another reason for why Daniel was interested was because there is a distinct difference between what it’s like to understand science in the classroom vs. in the lab. The company, Sutro, had gained Daniel’s interest because of 2 major factors. The first was that it had a massive focus on computer science which, in today’s age, is a skill that’s becoming increasingly valuable to have. The other reason was that Sutro is a Biotechnology company, which is a field that is at the frontier of its subject. Having knowledge on what it’s like to continuously make new discoveries and the thought process on how to keep trying new things to overcome the hurdles ahead is a skill Daniel believes will be invaluable to have in his career. As Daniel has mentioned before, he’d like to gain experience on what it’s like to work in the STEM field on a professional level, as this is an opportunity that is rarely offered. In addition, he would also like to gain experience on the professional application of computer science to other STEM fields. As he wants to go into the Astronomy field, Daniel hope to apply his computer science knowledge to make him an effective candidate after graduation. He also hopes to apply his knowledge of STEM work to choose what field he feels the best working in and to also understand what to expect once he is in that field. One of his biggest hobbies is astronomy! He has always been fascinated by astronomical phenomena and just the mention of anything related will have him hooked on a conversation. One of his greatest motivating factors is that he’s a trailblazer. What Daniel means by this is that he is the first in his family to go to college and also the one who his younger siblings and cousins look up to as a role model. It is this that will always inspires Daniel to keep doing his best at whatever he does.

Suzana Beyene

Home town: Oakland, California
College/University: University of California – Berkeley
What are you studying? Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB)
Internship: Exelixis

Suzana is currently a Junior at the University of California, Berkeley and plans to attend medical school after graduation. She is majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB), with an emphasis on Cell and Developmental Biology (CDB), and intends to minor in Public Health. She was born and raised in Eritrea and came to the U.S at the age of 14. Suzana is passionate about issues of health inequities and disparity across racial/socio-economic groups as well as gender. Within UC Berkeley, she is a lead intern coordinator in EOP STEM and the marketing director of the Black Students in Health Association (BSHA). Throughout her college years, thus far, she has worked in several research, internship, and volunteer positions, and is currently looking forward to joining the Biotherapeutics group at Exelixis as a summer intern.

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