encouraging conversation AND embracing new experiences

| Judy Berthiaume

A self-described very engaged college student, Kallie Friede embraces all kinds of opportunities across the UW-Eau Claire campus that regularly bring her in contact with new people, ideas and viewpoints. But it was in a classroom on the other side of the globe that the senior public relations and women’s studies major discovered a passion that has her thinking differently about her future.

While studying abroad at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, Kallie took a class on HIV/AIDS in South Africa, a region that has the highest rates of HIV and AIDS in the world. She realized then that while the United States also has a lot of HIV and AIDS, it’s often not talked about or at least not talked about so openly. In South Africa, the conversation was easier and the resources were more upfront, she says.

When Kallie graduates in December, she now hopes to work with HIV/AIDS prevention in the United States, with a dream of helping to create a culture where there isn't such stigma around it. This semester, Kallie already is taking steps toward making her career goal a reality. She is working in Eau Claire with the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin as part of her women's studies capstone project, an opportunity she sought after returning from South Africa.

In addition to her work in the community with ARCW, on campus she is an intern for the Women's and LGBTQ Resource Center, is a peer health educator for Student Health Services, is the Safe Space student coordinator and works in the Affirmative Action Office. Like her work with HIV/AIDS prevention, her on-campus jobs require her to help facilitate often-difficult conversations with her peers and others. By encouraging conversation around difficult topics AND embracing new experiences, Kallie Friede is making change on campus and in the world … and that’s pretty powerful!

Photo caption: Kallie Friede has sought out multiple opportunities as a Blugold, including serving as an intern for the Women's and LGBTQ Resource Center on campus.