“Be the change you want to see!” – An interview with Ebony Allison
Want to break the mould? Want to make real change? Want to smash the status quo?
Jacob spoke to the incredibly gifted and talented Ebony Allison about her the beginnings of her story in Engineering, her challenges, what we can do to implement real change to an aging industry and a lot more.
It was both parts insightful and inspiring to hear the almost nonchalant attitude to Ebony making waves in the Engineering world and we cannot wait to see how her story grows through the years as she innovates and inspires the future!
This one’s definitely worth a read to make you smile through this unfortunately grey and wet summer!
WHAT WAS THE MOMENT YOU REALISED YOU WANTED A CAREER IN TECH?
I really didn’t have a plan, I tend to live life on a whim and just go with what I feel like in the moment, I didn’t fully realise that I was classed as tech or stem until already working in it. I chose to study maths and physics at A-level without knowing what careers could come from it, it wasn’t until I met with a careers advisor at college that he told me to consider engineering which I’d never heard of. I then went on a ‘gifted and talented’ trip to Newcastle University where I soldered together a heartbeat monitor – which was my first time soldering! I hadn’t even heard of soldering. From this point onwards I decided to study electronic engineering at university which naturally led me to a career in tech starting with robotics but now I’m in consumer electronics in the R&D team.
MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON/PERSONS IN YOUR EARLY CAREER?
I didn’t have any particular role models as I didn’t actually meet any engineers until I was already working in the industry. I just knew in myself what I wanted to study and the fear of failure is what gave me motivation. I just really enjoyed learning about electronics and knew that my best chance at success needs to be in something I enjoy otherwise I’d get bored. Also, being constantly told not to do electronics because I don’t fit in was the cherry on the cake to keep me motivated in low moments.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO UNDERREPRESENTED MINORITIES AND FEMALES TO INSPIRE THEM TO PURSUE A CAREER IN TECH/ENGINEERING?
I think the one main selling point in engineering/tech is that your skills can do the talking. For example, if your hardware/code works, it works, no one can take that away from you! Being a minority in this old-fashioned industry can be extremely difficult and tiring but I use it as motivation to get better at my skills so no one can complain and say I’m not good at what I do. We can’t control other people’s attitudes so it’s important to not let their negativity dull your shine because you’re the one that will suffer, we have every right to work in an industry that we enjoy and there are so many supportive people; the aim is to not let the loud old-fashioned minority stop you from pursuing your career.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WE CAN DO TO REALLY ACCELERATE THESE CHANGES IN IT/ENGINEERING?
I think companies should put in effort to show support for change, be vocal about the lack of diversity as a lot of people don’t really understand that there is a problem. Companies need to speak to their minorities employees about how it feels to work in the company as the percentage of women that stay in the industry longer than two years is still very low. I think for the younger generation it is important when running STEM activities to have mixed-gender groups so from early the younger generation are used to working alongside the opposite gender to abolish the notion that boys are better at maths and science.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR DOWN TIME?
In my spare time I like to practice self-care haha.. love a face mask, fruit tea and a Netflix binge and TikTok crawl or the opposite; doing my makeup and going out for food and drinks with friends.
Thanks so much Ebony… you rock! #womenrock
Interview by Jacob Cook
A voice for diversity in Tech & Engineering <3