We asked alumna Erin Hood ‘03 a few questions to get to know her better
by Susie P. Gonzalez
With majors in drama and psychology, Erin Hood '03 went on to earn a doctorate in theatre arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Along the way, she met her future boss at Trinity University through a mutual friend, and the rest was history. Now as assistant director of Experiential Learning, she helps students find meaningful internships. It’s a pretty good act to follow.
What is your favorite memory from your time at Trinity?
In the fall of my senior year I was in a show called “Tango” directed by theatre professor Stacey Connelly. The cast was small and we bonded really quickly. One night we got together and talked so much that we didn't realize it was time to go to bed until we saw a school bus drive by taking kids to school the next morning. The “Tango” experience exemplifies one of my favorite things about theatre which is the temporary communities you form as everyone works hard and fast toward a common goal that comes and goes in a relatively short amount of time. Once the show is over you don't see as other as much but you still have this bond. Pledging was similar in that sense.
Is there something you regret not pursuing while at Trinity?
My role now is centered on helping students connect with internship opportunities and on helping students and employers make the most of internships when they have them. So, to be honest I would do 2-3 internships if I could do it all over again. I don't think I had a sense of the wide range of careers that are out there. It's amazing to see all of the different types of work students see and do through internships with big companies, non-profit organizations, and small businesses.
What was your favorite teacher or class at Trinity?
I loved my First Year Seminar class. It was taught by an engineering science professor, Peter Vafeades. I don't even remember the title or subject matter, but I remember having conversations about altruism and social responsibility that prompted me to question assumptions I carried with me.
Describe Trinity in 3-5 words.
Full of opportunity
What advice would you give to a Trinity student?
Build relationships. You never know how the people you meet today can influence your direction in the future and vice versa. Also, get out of your comfort zone. It’s a great way to keep learning about yourself.
How did you get involved in your area of career expertise?
It has a lot to do with people. I have experience in higher education, but my doctorate is in a different field. When I decided to return to San Antonio in 2014 to be with my now husband- and fellow Trinity alumnus, it required a career shift. I met Jacob Tingle, director of Experiential Learning, through a friend around the same time. We realized we had a lot of similar interests and kept in touch. I had been working on projects designed to strengthen connections between campus and community and he gave me a heads up when a role came along that allowed me to keep serving that purpose.
Please share some thoughts about the value of Experiential Learning for a college student.
I’ve seen students come out of experiential learning activities with a significant boost in confidence. Internships, study abroad, and undergraduate research all put major challenges in front of students. They ask them to solve problems and be accountable in ways that classroom activities can’t. We never know what we can do until we do it and it’s neat to see the confidence that comes from realizing how capable we are
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
When I was living in Madison, Wis., I got into yoga and Pilates. My teacher, Collette Stewart, had an approach that emphasized working with the body to calm the mind that resonated with me. This fall I’m planning to start yoga teacher training at the Esther Vexler School of Yoga in San Antonio. I hope to do some teaching at senior homes and to other folks who might not ever walk into a yoga studio.
What sound do you love? The sound you hate?
I love the sound of my baby laughing. I don’t love super loud noises.
What is your favorite color and why?
Green. I’m not sure why I just find it satisfying.
If you were reincarnated as some other plant or animal, what would it be and why?
Hmm, I’ll go with my gut instinct on this one. I’m into whales. They seem peaceful.
Where would you like to retire?
I love big cities and especially love San Francisco, Chicago, and London but mostly I’ll want to be near family and friends so Texas sounds good on that front.