This turns out to be a relatively simple issue.

This command is my go-to for internet connection diagnostics, but it wasn't showing my wifi card.
This shows all interfaces, not just the activated ones.
ifconfig -a
to activate a hardware device after determining its name, run:
ifconfig "device name" up
Bonus: this gives you way more than you'll ever need to know about the hardware capabilities of the device.
iw list