Mikayla Frick

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater human resources management student Mikayla Frick is shown at the offices of American Family Insurance in Madison on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, where she has worked in an internship. She will graduate at the December commencement ceremony, where she also will be the student commencement speaker.

Mikayla Frick believes every college graduate has an ability to tackle the largest problems facing modern society.

The Stoughton native strives to make her community a better place and to inspire people from all backgrounds to be their best selves.

The senior will look to share her experiences and wisdom as she addresses her peers at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s 2019 Winter Commencement, to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at Kachel Fieldhouse.

After taking some classes at another university, Frick discovered a passion for business as it relates to equity and social justice. That and her “people-centric” personality led her to human resource management at UWW’s College of Business and Economics.

She said Uma Kedharnath, assistant professor of management, showed that diversity in human resources goes beyond legal compliance.

“Research proves diversity efforts are good for people and businesses and make financial sense,” Frick said.

Her experience as a volunteer with the Nursing Home Visitation Program – where students visit and develop friendships with people of older generations – gave her an even deeper understanding of diversity.

Frick’s experience in human resource management extends beyond the campus to internships in both the public and private sectors.

During the summer of 2017, Frick worked as an intern in Madison at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, where she assisted in organizing and executing trainings, worked on and proposed projects to the Diversity Advisory Council and contributed to the redesign of the agency’s website.

Since May 2018, Frick has worked as a diversity and inclusion intern at American Family Mutual Insurance in Madison, creating programs and initiatives to support diversity – from company values to hiring practices to employee culture. Frick’s efforts prompted the company to create a full-time position for her.

She’s one of hundreds of Warhawks hired before graduation.

“You hear about business settings where being an intern, a female, or a woman of color can work against you,” she said. “But at every juncture at UW-Whitewater and in my internships, I had so many people giving me opportunities. There was someone in front of me, or next to me, giving me a seat the table. I’m helping to influence that inclusive culture now and for the future.”