Deanna Frater
Deanna Frater Photo: Paulius Musteikis

Deanna Frater (x’26) spent last summer swimming in a pool of opportunities while soaking up knowledge from her internship with Roc Nation, the entertainment company owned by rapper and record producer Jay-Z. With the help of SuccessWorks’ internship fund and winter job shadowing programs, Frater, a sophomore majoring in political science, explored solutions to some of the toughest social issues facing Wisconsin. She recruited nonprofit organizations that aligned with her mission to create resources for social justice in her state. We sat down with her to ask about her experience in the program.

Tell us about your summer internship and role.

I was the Wisconsin Student State Ambassador for the United Justice Coalition created by both Team Roc and Roc Nation. I represented the state of Wisconsin. The three problems I chose were mass incarceration for Black people, food deserts and racial segregation in places such as Milwaukee. We were addressing those problems by reaching out to nonprofits and trying to recruit them to come to our [United Justice Coalition] Summit. I worked with different brands to bring Wisconsinites to the event and was in communication with a lot of nonprofits from Wisconsin.

What is the United Justice Coalition Summit?

The UJC Summit is a one-day event in New York City focused on being a catalyst for change — building that bridge and connecting that gap between the older generation and the younger generation. They bring nonprofit organizations and community leaders doing big work in their fields into one space to lead discussions about social justice issues happening right now. What can we do to make change in our communities? We have panels at the summit, and this year several were focused on family matters — how people being incarcerated affects and destroys entire families.

What impact has your work had?

The most important impact I’d say was being able to educate such a large group of people. The event was more of a conference, so our goal was to educate attendees about the issues that we found prevalent in our states, which I believe was successfully completed. For me the biggest thing was being able to educate so many school-aged children. Many students visited the conference as a part of a school trip, and that was beautiful because I’m sure that they will grow with this information. Even though I’m not too sure of the immediate change that has happened, I am confident that on that day, we planted a seed for the change that we are hoping to see.

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