(CBS Local)– Harvard University graduate Amanda Nguyen is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and one of the most influential civil rights activists in the country.

Nguyen is the CEO & Founder of Rise, an organization that works to pass legislation for sexual assault survivors. The 29-year-old is a rape survivor herself and the incident occurred during her final semester at Harvard. Nguyen’s work has impacted people at the federal level and the local level in Massachusetts.

“We started in 2014 and in these past five years, we’ve passed 28 laws for 72 million people,” said Nguyen in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “Our goal is still to pass sexual violence laws in all 50 states. We have 28 states left. We want to pass a worldwide survivor bill of rights. I want women to know that you can choose to fight about what you care about and at the same time not give up your professional career.”

In addition to her work at Rise, Nguyen was previously an intern at NASA and a Deputy White House Liaison in President Barack Obama’s administration. Massachusetts is one of the states that now has a Sexual Assault Bill Of Rights thanks to the work of Nguyen and Rise. While Nguyen cared about these issues for a long time, they didn’t become truly real until she had to face the criminal justice system.

“In the direct aftermath of my rape, I went to the hospital and had a rape kit procedure,” said Nguyen. “For those who don’t know, it’s three to seven hours long. It’s that long because it’s a full forensic collection and life-saving medical attention to your body. Your body is the crime scene. It’s very detailed and it can be a very difficult examination. After that, I had no idea where it [rape kit] went. I remember still walking out the hospital, still disoriented, and there was this administrator who handed me a taxi voucher to go back to the place where I was raped. I was thinking at that moment where do I go from here. A really critical moment for me was walking into my local rape crisis center. That’s when I realized I really had to do something.”

Prior to Nguyen bill passing in Massachusetts, she discovered that rape kits could be destroyed after six months. The Harvard alumna was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for all her work in this field and hopes to create more change going forward.

“The worst thing that happened to me wasn’t being raped, it was being betrayed by a broken criminal justice system,” said Nguyen. “I am so fortunate to be an activist that had an idea, saw it pass, is credited for it, and now have started to see the effects of it. That’s extraordinary. Fortunately and unfortunately, I’ve received letters from survivors who were raped after my law was implemented. I’ve heard them say my rape kit was saved because of your law. It’s moment like that make this fight worth it.”

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