Every Project Onramp intern shares certain qualities: intellect, drive, a passion for science and an interest in helping people.

Beyond that, each of our 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!

Home Town: Bronx. NY
College: Binghamton University
Department: Life Science Investing
Company: Pharmakon/Royalty Pharma

Nana Boakye-Duah

Nana Boakye-Duah, a sophomore at Binghamton University studying Chemistry, was inspired to join the pharmaceutical industry when his favorite artist died of a drug overdose. He knew from then on that he wanted to be involved in addiction education and make a difference in the drug industry.

“I love the idea of manufacturing and understanding the composition of drugs, but I also really like having a connection with the international world through languages,” Nana explained.

Through Project Onramp, he interned with Pharmakon Advisors LP, an investment management company that focuses on investing in life sciences companies. This opportunity was a fantastic fit, as it allowed Nana to learn about and collaborate with teams internationally.

As an intern, Nana contributed to ongoing research initiatives about international pharmaceutical companies tackling rare disease medicine in oncology and endocrinology. He compiled information about companies’ drug portfolios and financial health.

Studying and making sense of these business performance data points was new to Nana, but fortunately, the mentors at Pharmakon helped him. The mentors were helpful in explaining statistics, stock market trends, consensus and data models, and Excel.

“They realized they were in our shoes at one time,” according to Nana. They understood if the interns didn’t know something and offered to guide them through each process, providing them with resources and checking in constantly. “I’m thankful that they truly understood how young we were, but how ambitious we were, too.”

Nana eventually presented the information he collected to the leadership team, which was daunting at first: “I had the responsibility of engaging my co-interns and making sure that our thesis was solidified. The decision-makers needed our contribution to influence their decision on whether or not to invest in a firm,” Nana recalled.

Despite the pressures of presenting such critical information, Nana was fascinated by the financial component of his role and was surprised by how much he liked it.

“It was so good that I was contemplating double majoring in business. It was a bit stressful, but just to have that thought made me realize ‘I truly enjoyed this.’”

Nana’s biggest takeaway was that he isn’t as one-dimensional as he thought he was. He went into the internship with knowledge in chemistry and learned that the life sciences industry has people with expertise in law, finance, and many other fields, yet they’re all working in one space.

“A lot of this work is applicable in many different fields. I realized I’m multi-dimensional. There were no barriers, everything was fluid and correlated. I’m grateful to have witnessed that firsthand.”

Expand Full Story

Home Town: Brooklyn, NY
College: Cornell University
Department: Research & Investments
Company: Royalty Pharma

Janen Khan

Cornell senior Janen Khan is a Brooklyn native who occasionally feels a bit out of place in the rural landscapes of the Ithaca, New York campus. Where she doesn’t feel out of place, however, is when she’s immersed in the world of academic biology. That’s her undergraduate major as she continues a pre-med track while minoring in the life sciences track at the Dyson School of Business.

Janen always knew she wanted to understand more about science than, well, science. In fact, she strongly believes that no matter what field you plan to enter, you better know something about the business side of it, too.

So when Janen acquired an internship with Royalty Pharma through Project Onramp, she jumped at the chance to learn about what it’s like to work in the biotech industry. In fact, Project Onramp’s focus on the life sciences industry and the business side of healthcare was a major part of the appeal for Janen. She also appreciated that the program was tailored for lower-income applicants.

“It’s harder for people like me to be seen in bigger industry positions because of socioeconomic barriers. I need the ramp! I wanted to put myself in a space where nobody looks like me.”

Yet, Janen fit right in at Royalty from day one. She was dedicated to her internship with the same passionate drive she displayed for her academics at school. Working in partnership with another intern, she immediately began learning about how Royalty Pharma and the biotech industry work.

During her internship, Janen learned how to analyze the company’s different product portfolios to determine which new investments made sense for the company. Janen focused on biosimilars, which are the generic versions of biological drugs.

During her time with Royalty Pharma, Janen reported directly to the Chief Scientific Officer and had regular interactions with people from all across the company, including the C-Suite.

“It was really good to hear them talk, whether I understood anything or not. It was just good to be in a room filled with people who are trying to make the world a better place, and it’s not just money-driven. You have doctors in the room talking about making scientific decisions,” she explained.

Not only did these conversations help Janen learn more directly about diverse areas of the company, but they also helped her build the kinds of relationships that serve as the foundation of a budding career. They also made her realize that people with all different kinds of academic and professional backgrounds have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to their career paths.

“I never thought there would be political science people doing this stuff, but it’s really cool how you can just have anybody having an interest and obviously specializing in that interest in that field.”

So, is she still planning to head to med school after finishing her pre-med track this year?

Thanks to her time interning and networking through Project Onramp, Janen is starting a new job at Roivant Sciences, another biotech company. She didn’t want to lock into any one definite track at the beginning of what is certain to be a long and accomplished career. Instead, she decided to take time to further explore what it’s like working full-time in biotech while keeping an open mind about the future.

“After talking to everyone there with MD and PhD backgrounds, it was nice to see that there’s no straight path to getting into anything. Some people joined right after they graduated college. Some people joined 10 years after they worked at a bank. So, for me, I don’t want to lock in.”

The possibilities are endless for Janen.

Expand Full Story