Aug 13, 2021 - Inside 23andMe

Intern-al Perspectives

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23andMe’s internship program provides a diverse array of people with valuable experience and room to grow personally and professionally. The 2021 class of interns was the first to operate remotely, which allowed interns to contribute their talents and insights to the Gene Pool from every corner of the country. 

Read what some of our interns shared about what they accomplished, enjoyed, and experienced during their ten weeks with 23andMe. 


Marcos Sandoval, IT Help Desk Intern – IT

In this internship, I’ve learned how to use and provision various enterprise-level tools to help triage any and all IT-related issues. I have also been managing user permissions and troubleshooting problems! Something exciting I have been working on is helping prepare our Sunnyvale IT inventory for the move into a new location. Working at 23andMe has been an exciting opportunity so far, and I’ve learned much in the brief time I’ve spent here.


Enyonam Odoom, Healthcare Operations Intern – Healthcare Operations Photo of Enyonam Odoom

I’ve really enjoyed meeting with all the researchers at the company during my time here. Everyone, including researchers outside of my direct team, opened their calendars to me. It’s been a great opportunity to learn about what work is being done here, get career advice and mentorship, and just understand what working at 23andMe full time is like. I really appreciated that part of the internship. I’ve also loved learning more about how we can use genetics to help improve health, as that’s not something that was really emphasized while I was in school.


Taylor Cavazos, Computational Biology Intern – Therapeutics

As a computational biology intern with 23andMe’s Therapeutics team, I’m working on an exciting project that incorporates ancestry to identify variants in the human genome that alter our gene expression. It has been amazing to have the opportunity to conduct research at 23andMe that prioritizes the inclusion of diverse participants and has the potential to drive the development of new therapies. I not only enjoy working with the incredible researchers at 23andMe, but also the overall culture and environment that encourages creativity! 


Mark McAdam, Secure Amazon Web Services Intern – Security

If Terraform feels like a superpower when it comes to provisioning resources in AWS, running Terragrunt on top of Terraform feels like managing a team of superheroes. It’s literally that powerful. I am on a team that is building an application stack that allows people to provision resources to use in AWS without having to worry if they are building it securely, the safeguards are in place. 

Every day I come to work, I get to rub shoulders with a team of brilliant individuals as I try to match their skill and enthusiasm. I get to work on solving problems that have real-world implications. 


Cailyn Schiltz, Internal Communications Intern – Communications

Working in Internal Comms has taught me just how important every facet of a company is. I planned a Customer Panel for National Sisters’ Day, and getting to see the real-world impacts of 23andMe was so powerful. People find families and can learn life-changing information from their genetic reports, and none of that would be possible without everyone at the company doing their part. Internal Comms is the glue holding the whole operation together. 

This internship has challenged not only my writing skills, but my creativity and leadership skills. I was responsible for weekly newsletters, DEI initiatives, and redesigning the company intranet. What made it truly special was the culture at 23andMe and the incredible team I got to work with. I felt like my thoughts were valued and had an impact, and I was comfortable stepping outside of my comfort zone. Interning with 23andMe gave me experience in a new field, a broader perspective on what it means to be a communicator, and the confidence to push myself to learn.


Bhairavi Swaminathan, Statistical Genetics Intern – Research

My internship goal was to replicate and test a publicly available fine-mapping tool with publicly available GWAS data. I definitely learned a lot both in aspects of science and skill sets – I got to process large datasets and code in a new language. Working at 23andMe has been an amazing experience: I learned a lot about different roles in different departments. People are approachable, friendly, and excited about what they do. I especially enjoyed working with my mentor, Karl, and the discussions with my colleague, Pierre. 


April Orozco, Environmental Health & Safety Specialist Intern – Workplace A photo of April Orozco

I am most proud of seeing the South San Francisco lab flourish even amidst a global pandemic! With EH&S programs being more thoroughly developed as 23andMe’s Therapeutics department grows, I feel like I truly have been granted a one-of-a-kind opportunity to identify, develop, and mature EH&S programs that can have a lasting effect. Also, everyone I have met in the office and virtually  have been remarkably open to filling in any gaps in my knowledge. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to dive into the field with a company fueled by such an amazing mission.


Alix Henderson, Archives Intern – Office of the CEOA photo of Alix Henderson

Learning about the 15 year history of 23andMe through its internal archive has been a unique experience within itself. I am most proud of the improvements I have made in organizing and formatting our archived documents for more successful search and retrieval by the 23andMe team. Advancing the accessibility of these documents promotes the efficiency and education of the company’s growing success. In partnership with the other Archives Intern, Christina Li, we have developed a written account of the history of 23andMe for onboarding team members to potentially utilize in the future. 

Being able to express the milestones that 23andMe has achieved through the years testifies to the culture of the company itself and why I have enjoyed working here through the summer. I have been challenged in developing my archival knowledge and promoted to connect with multiple departments to continue my growth as a student and young professional.


Ayanna Ajilore, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Intern- People Team A photo of Ayanna Ajilore

This was my first time working full-time in DEI, so this summer, I really wanted to learn not just about 23andMe but also if this is the type of work I really want to do every day. Fortunately, not only did I affirm that I love this work, but I also found a place that welcomes me to do it to my heart’s content.

My work involves having a lot of fingers in a lot of different pots, which gave me the chance to see different sides of the job. I  spent the summer actively working on projects to improve our company and our product which was really refreshing. Some companies and people shy away from confronting their issues in DEI, but here, I spend so much time just helping people figure out how to get past a hurdle on a current project or get started on a new one.

While we still have a long way to go, I believe that 23andMe is really a company to watch in this field and I hope that I am able to continue to contribute to its journey.

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