Meet Kyleanne Hunter
MEET THE MUSE: Kyleanne Hunter ~ marine helicopter pilot, PhD candidate, mountain biker, badbass.
My dog! As much as I detest mornings I hate dog poop on the floor even more! This question expects an action about being fired up about ones passion. Broadly, I am passionate about education and discussion and progressive change. I believe that the other issues I care about – individual empowerment, sustainability, community – all stem from informed and civil communication. These days that seems lacking. Yelling and divisiveness seem the norm. It makes some days hard to want to keep going on. But, I hope that my efforts will soon see me plugged into the community as and educator and activator, encouraging and facilitating people to learn more and engage with one another.
What did you dream about when you were 8?
I wanted to run away on the train and be a veterinarian. It seemed like both an adventure, and I’d get to play with animals all day.
What do you dream about now?
Having a platform where I can educate and inspire while being connected to a community I love. I think that there is a space for an engaged academic at the citizen level…so I’m dreaming up that space for me!
What matters most to you?
Morning coffee. With Java all things are possible!! But after coffee, citizen involvement. The majority of my adult life has been spent in military service. I deployed multiple times to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and spent several years working as a liaison officer in the House of Representatives. It’s given me a unique perspective on governments and our place in the world. We are very fortunate to live in a country where citizens are free to voice their opinion, lobby their government, and be vocal activists, and not have to do it via military participation. And yet most people would rather complain that act. We’ve gone from asking what we can do for our communities or country, to trying to find a scapegoat for our problems. Whether it’s pushing for women’s rights, meaningful foreign policy, or economic and environmental sustainability, inspiring people to find ways to be engaged–at all levels of their community–is the goal of everything I do. The more people that are invested, the more we can shape a community and a future that reflects our uniqueness and strength.
What do you tell young people to do?
Be Smart, Love Well.
I think that both of those things are lacking in todays culture. Being smart has become an insult, and doing things with love is seen as weak. We need to change that narrative for the next generation.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Physically? All the scars–shoulder surgery, mastectomy, thousands of bike crashes…I’m one big bundle of scar tissue and stories. Non-physically? Resilience. I take big risks. And sometimes that means big failures. I don’t even always know how I bounce back.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Hopefully it hasn’t happened yet! I’ve had a lot of notable times I’m proud of, but strive to continue overcome new challenges.
What do you want to be remembered for?
Being smart and loving well!
I want to be remembered as someone who challenged your ideas, but did so out of a place of love and concern for humanity. I want to be remembered as someone who inspired you to get engaged beyond your comfort zone.
What is your motto?
Be the person my dog thinks I am.
Let’s dive deep:
What is holding you back from living the life you want?
In all honesty, access to monetary resources. Unfortunately being inspiring doesn’t always pay the bills (I wish my landlord would take inspiration for rent payment). It’s not easy for me to always put my foot down and put a monetary value on my experiences and knowledge bank. Convincing people that it’s worth the investment in me, is something I’m working on.
What is your greatest fear?
To not carry my weight–whether in my marriage, my community, my country or my world. I never want things just given to me, I want to do my part to be engaged and involved. My greatest fear is that I will fail to make my contribution.
What has been your greatest life lesson?
That nothing happens like you planned. Despite all the preparation in the world, life will throw you curveballs every day. We have to constantly adapt, readjust, reevaluate. This isn’t easy for me. I’ve had to stop being so rigid in what I want to have happen.
What breaks your heart for others?
The injustice that comes from ignorance. As humans, we’re each others worst enemies. I don’t think that people are malicious at heart, but we’re far too often ignorant to the struggles and situations of others. I ache for people who lack the ability to look beyond themselves and therefore unknowingly contribute to the systems of injustice that leave many people powerless.
How do you break your own heart?
Oh geez…I feel like I have a reservoir of failures I can dip into anytime I need to break it. From failing businesses, to failed relationships, to denied proposals and passionate pleas that fell on deaf ears. We’re often given clichéd advice to learn from our mistakes, or to never give up. But these deny the reality of just how painful failure in the pursuit of your dreams and your desires is. Sometimes you just need to let them break your heart.
If you had the world stage for one moment, what would your message be?
Talk to each other! Throw aside your assumptions and welcome learning something new from your neighbor.
Tell us about your work:
I’m a PhD Candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and a research fellow at the Sie Chou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy.
What goal are you working on now?
Finishing my dissertation! And plugging into my new community using my practical skills and education.
What is your why behind it?
I started grad school with the intent of diving into the why
behind the things that I experienced in my military career. I focus on how women in the military have shaped the global security environment and contribute to a more human understanding of security. This is important for both the national security community and everyday citizens to understand. The nature of the military, and what it does in the global community is changing, and women are largely driving that change.
What should people know about your work?
We’re at an exciting time when the global community is recognizing that security is more than just armies protecting boarders. It’s about preserving the way of life for men and
women around the world. Women have played a large role in pushing militaries to recognize human security as a cornerstone of their strategies. This should encourage us all to get involved and excited about crafting a more inclusive and peaceful world.
How can we support you and your work?
On a big picture level, engage in meaningful discussions and community building. The more we engage with one another, the more we create a secure and prosperous community.
On a more practical level, spread the word about me and my research to help get me speaking and teaching engagements. Global security begins at home, and I hope to grow my influence and impact.
How do you balance work and play?
I have the fortune to live in Bend, OR, with an awesome backyard. Having time in the outdoors–on my bike, running, hiking, and skiing–drives me to be more focused and motivated in my work.
And having a four-legged best friend constantly reminds me to take breaks and enjoy a good puddle jump.
Share your inspiration with us:
When and where are you most inspired?
When I riding with the Afghan Women’s National Cycling Team. These women were making a power political statement–that their lives would not be dictated by the demands of an oppressive political regime–by doing something that many of us do every
day. Every pedalstroke was an act of political defiance. And they were laughing and having fun the entire time.
If you could inspire one change in yourself, what would it be?
To be more patient. I tell myself that good things take time, but don’t always listen to my own advice.
If you could inspire one change in the world, what would it be?
To listen to each other more. The world consumes so much information, yet never takes the time to listen to the voices that matter.
Where do you look for inspiration in your daily life?
Primarily from things I see happening that need a deeper explanation. Rather than being quick to judge I try and find the
why behind events that are frequently dismissed as being black or white. My inspiration comes form figuring out how to convey the why to a wider audience.
Who inspires you?
The men and women I served in the Marines with–at a time when we have options to choose any career path, they chose to sacrifice their 20s (and often 30s and 40s) to the nation.
Want to share a quote or a poem or a song lyric that inspires you?
“I’ve never had a dream in my life
Because a dream is what you wanna do, but still haven’t pursued
I knew what I wanted and did it till it was done
So I’ve been the dream that I wanted to be since day one!”
Thanks for the inspiration. xo, muse
Comments are closed