Kylie Nilan Angell
Q. Can you tell us a little about your life path? What are you doing in your career and community right now and what lead you there?
A. I was born and raised in Trumbull, CT. I grew up seeing powerful, capable women as leaders- such as Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Hanna, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alanis Morisette, the Spice Girls- which gave me the notion that yes, women CAN be leaders! That “girl power!” existed and that, one day, a woman could and would be elected President.
As a result of these diverse set of role models, plus an internal desire craving to lead, I decided that I too wanted to be a leader; that I would someday become President! I ran for and was elected to student council starting in middle school and continued in high school.
When at college at the University of Connecticut I won a spot in student government as the nursing Class President, and became involved on various nursing leadership boards advocating for fellow students and the community.
I still carry with me the dream to one day be involved with government. I believe that we need more nurses involved in politics, since we make up such a large portion of the work force. We can bring a diverse perspective to the table and contribute to the discussion of healthcare reform.
While at UConn I also became heavily involved as an activist for sexual assault prevention. My activism began after I experienced sexual violence at college and wanted a way to give back to other survivors as well as prevent anyone else from having to experience the same things that I did. The first official work I did as an activist was to form a student organization with fellow activists called “Revolution Against Rape” (RAR). Together we held many on- and off-campus events geared around ending the stigma around sexual assault and promoting education and awareness about the subject.
Upon graduation I worked with four other women and civil rights attorney Gloria Allred to make change at the state and national level. Our testimonies, which we shared in the State Legislature, helped catalyze the passage of a bill by Governor Malloy that extends protection and advocacy for sexual assault victims on all colleges and universities in the state.
Currently I work as an Emergency Room nurse at Norwalk Hospital, Connecticut. I continue to draw from my experience as an activist every day at work by advocating for patients who may not have the means to do so for themselves. In the near future I plan on becoming certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), a role which provides support for a victim as they undergo the long and emotional medical portion of the reporting process. While in the ER I represent my fellow co-workers as the floor Union Delegate by listening to their concerns and bargaining for the best working conditions possible. I have found that by belonging to and participating in the nurse’s union we are able to better protect our rights and ensure a stable future for all of us.
Q. Do you consider yourself a feminist? What does feminism mean to you?
A. I strongly identify as a feminist! I think my earliest recollection I have of me announcing myself unofficially as a feminist was around age 8 or 9 when I told my dad: “if I get married one day, I will make certain my partner does 50% of the housework!” Though I grew up continuing to believe that all people should be treated equally, I did not come to self-identify as a feminist until I was in college. It was then, following experience with sexual violence, that I started to realize just how much this world needs feminism.
Feminism means that each person born into this world deserves the same political, social, and economic opportunities, regardless of gender. By beginning to proudly adopt feminism as one of the main lenses through which I viewed the world, the more I was able to believe that I could truly be and do anything I wanted without being discriminated against just because of my chromosome make-up. Feminism empowered me to reclaim the voice that was temporarily stolen from me when I became a victim and transform myself into a survivor, and then a thriver.
Q. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other young women, ages 18-35, about how to build their leadership skills or the importance of becoming a leader?
A. One of the most important things about leadership I can say is to never listen to others who try to tell you that your dreams are unachievable. The sky is the limit! In my experience, the higher that I have reached, the farther that I have excelled. I also think it is important to build and nurture relationships with other women that build you up and support you in your endeavors. Networking with other women can provide you with connections that can help you achieve your goals down the road. Though sometimes society will try to tell you that women are “catty” or “bossy,” but I have witnessed over and over that women are so much more; when women come together, we are strong, powerful, and can accomplish anything!
Young Women Rising celebrates one young woman each month by sharing their story here on our blog. If you know of a young woman between the ages of 18-35 that we should consider including please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.