This CNM Grad Plans to Use Her Education to Help At-Risk Youth in the LGBTQIA2S+ Community

Kylie Hanson wants to be an advocate and sees public policy or law as the most powerful ways to get involved
June 01, 2023

Kylie Hanson who identifies as bisexual and uses she/they pronouns grew up in a family who was always supportive of however she chose to identify. But in middle school she was bullied by other students and knew many young people who did not grow up in an accepting community. 

That’s why she got an associate degree in Sociology at CNM, is working toward degrees in Sociology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UNM right now, and plans to get either a law degree or master’s in public policy so that she can work for nonprofits that advocate for at-risk youth in the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

“I know a lot of queer youth have an issue of being displaced from their homes and that becomes a path for them to have mental health issues, or could lead to prison, and I want to help prevent these issues before they start,” Kylie says. 

She can pinpoint the start of her journey on this career path to a Sociology class at CNM taught by faculty member Liz Bennett. In that class Kylie says she saw the power of sociology when it comes to understanding complicated social issues and creating change. 

“We were able to analyze things from a variety of perspectives and Liz was incredibly supportive of me pursuing a career path related to sociology,” Kylie says.

Liz says Kylie excelled in her class.

"Kylie brought an insightful way of looking at the world into her sociology courses and quickly layered theory and method onto that. She took course concepts and applied them to issues that were already important to her. I can easily see her succeeding in whatever path she chooses–she’s the kind of person who will make a difference in her community," Liz says. 

Liz was not the only faculty or staff member at CNM who supported Kylie’s journey. She says that everyone at the college went above and beyond to help her succeed.

“I always got the help I needed in class or outside of class,” she says.

Interestingly, Kylie’s Sociology degree at CNM was actually not her first CNM degree. Back in 2016 she enrolled in the college’s Cosmetology program and graduated in 2018. She then went on to spend six years working at salons and now does hair at Great Clips. That business has been a great landing spot because they give her flexible hours so that she can support herself and go to school.

“Great Clips has been enormously supportive,” she says.

Next steps for Kylie include a volunteer opportunity at the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center and volunteer work with some of the LGBTQIA2S+ organizations at UNM. She knows she still has a long way to go in her educational pathway, but she’s excited to learn more, begin a new career and be a positive force in the community. 

“I have to get training, but once I do I’m really looking forward to making a difference,” she says.