Ebony Hood is a community relations specialist for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and the newly-appointed director of the NeoSTEM Ecosystem. Ebony has degrees in science and sustainability from Baldwin Wallace University, and a master’s degree in education from Kent State University. In this conversation, Ebony discusses the impact of family support, community support, and mentorship on her STEM journey.
“Stay curious. Keep following that path, and keep going.”
Can you describe the family and community support you had to get to where you are now?
Well, like many families, I would definitely classify as the first generation to go off to college. But with that came a ton of support. My mom and dad were rah-rah, get it done, make it happen. And luckily, I also have a sister who has gone through the college journey along with me, and we tend to be each other’s backbone. So she knows something, she shares it. If I know something, I’ll share. And we still have our dream of getting like that back to our degree together. We want to be in the arena, and walk across the stage together and achieve it.
What obstacles have you encountered throughout your career?
A million obstacles STEM fields can be challenging, and it’s so easy again to get involved and TikToks and stuff like that, and not give learning the time. But I would say part of it is just having dedication. You know, I used to call myself the flashcard queen. I would just go around with stacks, and just kind of get that foundational base of learning. The next thing is the idea of finding mentors. So you have to be vulnerable, you have to open up. You’re going to have to tell folks you need help. Or sometimes I even ask people, what is it that I don’t know what to ask in order to help myself? Because sometimes you just don’t know everything you don’t know.
Feel confident enough to bridge that gap between you and teachers, or counselors, or folks in the community that you know that may be doing STEM and that can help you.