20 Under 40: Katy Eagle
What do you actually do? Represent sexual violence survivors in various civil legal matters, which looks very different from one case to the next. I spend a lot of time listening to people. I can’t change the trauma they’ve experienced or ways our legal systems respond to survivors of sexual violence, but I can help survivors understand their options and resources so they can make informed and empowered choices, which hopefully support their healing process(es). My job is unique and sometimes difficult, but overall I’m grateful to be doing work I have a passion for.
Education: After getting my GED, I went to community college in Oregon and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Smith College in Massachusetts. I graduated from law school in 2010 as a part of the weekend program at the Hamline University School of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law) in St. Paul. I worked in Duluth during the week and went to school on the weekends. I don’t miss those days.
Family: My significant other and I have three kids, who keep us pretty busy. They are 3, 6 and 8. His mom, grandmother and many family members live in the Twin Ports. My parents and sister both live in the area. My sister also works for a local nonprofit. My brother lives in the metro area.
Community involvement: I’ve been on a few nonprofit boards. At the moment, I’m on the board of directors for Mending the Sacred Hoop, a nonprofit that provides training and technical assistance to tribal communities around the country regarding domestic and sexual violence. I’m also a member of the St. Louis County Collaborative, which is comprised of community partners working together to provide integrated delivery of prevention and early intervention services to children and families.
Native of the area? I’m not, but I’ve been here a long time. This is the longest I’ve ever lived somewhere.
What drew you here? I went to graduate school at the University of Minnesota Duluth briefly and ended up staying, no matter how often I swear I’m moving away.
How do you spend your free time? I spend a lot of time with my kids and family. We try to go to different events, activities and fun things. I’m still at a point where my life revolves around work or the kids. I’m sure that will change in a few years, but for now the kids are still pretty little, so they need that.
How can the Northland retain younger people? Keep building on the momentum. There are really interesting things happening in Duluth, which was not always so true when I first moved here. Now there are new restaurants, businesses, community events, artistic endeavors and other exciting things happening that help make Duluth even more attractive.
Influential person in your life: There have been many people who have greatly impacted me, including many people in my life today that continue to influence and inspire me.
Biggest accomplishment? Certainly graduating from Smith and being admitted to the bar, none of which came easily for me. Some days I think it might be that I’ve spent most of my working life working with domestic or sexual violence survivors and I’m still doing it. Other times, I’d like to think my biggest accomplishments are yet to come.
Three people – dead or alive – you’d like to have dinner with: Zora Neale Hurston, Frida Kahlo and Prince. There are so many people that would be fascinating to talk to: Wilma Mankiller, Oscar Wilde, Joy Harjo, random people from different time periods from all over the world.
Five-year goals: Five to 10 years is a little longer than my usual planning range, but I’d like to think that the things I’m doing now will continue to develop and grow in a positive direction.
Where do you see the Twin Ports in the next five to 10 years? I hope we continue to grow in mindful ways, so we don’t lose some of the things that make our community so wonderful.
What’s the best book you’ve read recently? The entire “Game of Thrones” series. Waiting for the next book is killing me. I might give up and watch the TV show. Also, a co-worker recommended “The Perfume Collector.” It was amazing.