Growing up, Jonah Winninghoff spent most of his time in the deaf community. He became the first deaf graduate from the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Science at Johns Hopkins University, with an M.S. in Economics. Jonah had always loved math, but he struggled to find work in his desired field after completing his master’s degree.
Since completing Springboard’s Data Science Career Track, he has landed a role as a statistician at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and is also a data analyst at the National Deaf Center. He is currently building a dashboard that pulls U.S. Census Data to track post-secondary economic outcomes for people who are deaf/ASL.
After interning for the Peace Corps, I became a private math tutor for pre-calculus. I focused on people who were deaf/ASL. I got my master’s degree and started looking for work but had no luck, so I took a job as a direct support professional for homebound people who were developmentally delayed and needed one-on-one attention.
I became very interested in data science while studying for my master’s in economics. I wanted to find a way to combine the two. I saw the possibilities in data science to make an impact on the environment and on people that need better accessibility options.
I never really found other people who are deaf and also interested in data science. It’s very rare. Working for the National Deaf Center has been incredibly rewarding. We built a dashboard to access statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau to build a network for people with disabilities, such as those who are deaf or blind. It’s currently in beta testing. I just started my job at the Rochester Institute of Technology where I support students who are majoring in biomedicine. I’ve been very inspired by this work.
There were a lot of good reviews about the mentorship and the accessibility at Springboard, plus a lot of resources to help people find jobs.
My mentor was Hobson Lane [co-founder of Tangible AI]. Growing up, I never spent much time outside of the deaf community. Working with Hobson, who is a hearing individual, was a new experience for me. He had a lot of great insights and is very supportive of people with disabilities. Having a mentor was a very special and unique experience.
I would say that there was a lot of accessibility and openness. However, there were some challenges. For example, sometimes closed captions wouldn’t show up on the screen. Data science is a difficult skill to master and it can be very overwhelming, especially when the course is so expansive.
The capstone project allowed me to showcase my work to employers. That is priceless to me. I also appreciated being able to do mock behavioral and technical interviews.
Find out what you’re really interested in. I know that’s not easy, so take the time to evaluate your values and work ethic. Find something you truly love and desire, and follow that.