EPISODE #20 | May 10, 2019
Guest: Kendra Jones
Biomedical Engineer, Comedian
Feeling like the word, “minority,” was stamped on her when she was growing up in a predominantly white community in Illinois, Kendra Jones thought that she would always bear that label, wherever she lived. That was, until she attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. It was at the Historically Black College or University (HBCU) that Kendra’s world was opened to a “life-changing experience,” one that showed her how being Black was actually expansive and diverse, not limiting – or limited – as “minority” had proposed.
Empowered by the academic environment at Howard and always having shown a propensity for inventing, it was no surprise that Kendra majored in engineering. But what was it like working in a field that the American Society for Engineering Education reported is comprised of only 20 percent women and 3.5 percent African-Americans? When Executive Director Tom Duff, LCSW, MSW asked Kendra if gender or race were harder to overcome, she answered, “Blackness.” Find out how that struggle has also made her extremely comfortable with who she is. And how, because of that deep-rooted personal security, Kendra has made a 180 career pivot – from biomedical engineer to comedian. Tune in to this week’s episode of Mental Health Matters and hear how the discomfort and discoveries in life’s journey can actually prove to be rather funny.