Practicum student Jordan Wilheim on his long and winding road

by Mike Cole

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Jordan Wilheim had spent many months in the desert. Months of applying to jobs, interviewing, and being rejected. In March, he very nearly got an offer — and then COVID hit. The oasis turned out to be a mirage.

Still, he persevered. At last, this September, the California native landed the position of his dreams: he was hired as a data scientist at the genetic-testing company Invitae.

It wasn’t easy finding his place in the world of data. We asked Jordan to tell us how he made it happen.

First steps

After getting his bachelor’s in biology in 2011, Jordan worked as a lab technician and led bike repair workshops. He still wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. …


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