2. How did you become first aware of this deity?
I suspect I picked up a bit of knowledge about who Hestia was from when we studied Greek mythology sometime in middle school. Hestia also frequently makes those deity lists you see in a lot of 101 books or on 101 websites, "Hestia: Greek goddess of the hearth and family."
I suppose I started to learn more about her when I moved into my first apartment and had the freedom of my own kitchen to begin exploring kitchen witchcraft more fully - particularly once I left Kemetic reconstructinism in 2007, and no longer had that tradition as the focus of most of my time. Hestia is mentioned in many kitchen witch resources, although rarely in great detail. I did not actively worship her at this point in time, however.
It wasn't until earlier this year that I actually began to become aware of her in more than an academic sense. I can't pinpoint exactly when it was. It is very hard to explain, but it's like when I knew Westya (a proto-Indo-European reconstructed hearth goddess) it was like knowing a part of Hestia, as well. Then when I was struggling to figure out which direction I should go, there was Hestia to make it clear. That is when I very clearly became aware of her.