Alum finds success at Harvard as indigenous peoples’ advocate

EVIT alum earns Harvard leadership award, working on career in activism
Posted on 06/01/2022
Kylie started her journey in criminal justice at EVIT, earns leadership award

Only one year after completing her EVIT Criminal Justice training, Kylie Hunts-in-Winter is already finding success as an undergraduate at Harvard University. In May, she was awarded Harvard’s “Emerging Global Leader” award.


She was nominated for the honor for being a leader in her indigenous community through activism for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Peoples’ Movement, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, teaching free self-defense classes for indigenous women and much more.


“As I’ve completed my first year at Harvard, I’ve learned a lot about not only myself, but where I want to go in life. That’s many thanks to the amazing classes I’ve taken this school year, from anti-human trafficking, photography, to American Indian History,” said Hunts-in-Winter, 19. “I can’t wait to see where it’ll take me next.”


When Hunts-in-Winter enrolled at the East Valley Institute of Technology in 2019, she was already a leader in her community with a heart for activism. As a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, she became an advocate for the Standing Rock Sioux people and for missing and murdered indigenous women. She also was a national and world martial arts champion with an Instagram page of 50,000 followers honoring her culture and supporting women and girls in martial arts globally.


“The Criminal Justice program at EVIT provided me with an understanding of law and government that I never would’ve had otherwise,” she said. During her second year at EVIT, Hunts-in-Winter successfully led an initiative to pass Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a state and national holiday. “These combined experiences led me to realize my passion for activism and how government can play a role to make a difference in the world.”


After completing her training and being named EVIT’s 2021 Student of the Year, Hunts-in-Winter entered Harvard last fall. She planned to major in government, but quickly realized those classes didn’t fit the education she was seeking. So she switched to sociology, where she can learn more about the topics she is most passionate about and still develop skills to pursue a career in activism and possibly government as well.


“Harvard is amazing in its architecture, course selection, and outstanding opportunities that lie simply within the name,” she said. “However, when it comes to my daily college experience, after you get past the gorgeous buildings and historical significance of the campus, I was really just another college student making friends and learning to live on my own.”


Her first year of learning at Harvard has been more than coursework. “What I really learned this year at Harvard is that it’s OK for your goals to change,” she said, “because in your early years of adulthood, it’s all about learning who you are and where you want to go.”


That’s also the lesson she learned at EVIT.


“EVIT provides a schooling experience like no other, whether it leads you to your future career, teaches you important life lessons, or makes you some phenomenal friends and mentors,” Hunts-in-Winter said. “Without EVIT, I truly wouldn’t be where I am today.”


EVIT students have a 98% high school graduation rate, two out of three go on to college and 94% are in jobs related to their training, college or the military within a year of completing their program.


Enrollment for 2022-23 is under way. Start the process at


Kylie’s Career Path:

  • Started martial arts training at age 3
  • Won multiple national and world martial arts titles
  • Became an advocate for the Standing Rock Sioux and Missing and Indigenous Women
  • Began offering free martial arts classes to indigenous women
  • Completed the EVIT Criminal Justice program in 2021
  • Enrolled at Harvard University in 2021
  • Won the Harvard Emerging Global Leader Award in 2022
  • Future plans: Pursue a career in activism


Get started on a career while in high school:


How to enroll in high school programs at EVIT:

  • Complete and submit application online at
  • Parents/legal guardians of new students will need an active email account to access and use the online registration system
  • Upload attendance record, discipline record, current unofficial transcripts and proof of immunizations
  • Admissions office will inform students via email once application is approved or if more information is needed
  • EVIT is for all high school students – public, charter, private or home-schooled – who reside in one of 11 East Valley school districts: Apache Junction, Cave Creek, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Higley, J.O. Combs, Mesa, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Tempe
  • More information: Call (480) 461-4108


How to enroll in adult programs at EVIT:

  • Schedule appointment to meet with an advisor by calling (480) 461-4110
  • Complete online application form at
  • Tuition rates vary by program. Apply for financial aid by visiting and using school code 035723
  • Send questions about financial aid to [email protected]
  •  More information: Call (480) 461-4110