Jessica Wickey Byrd is a UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management alumna, graduating with her master’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2013. Ms. Wickey Byrd has 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including restaurants, resorts, events, convention centers, non-profit fundraising, and live entertainment. In 2024, Ms. Wickey Byrd will complete her doctorate in Educational Leadership, with a focus on Higher Education from the University of Central Florida, College of Innovation and Education.
Ms. Wickey Byrd leads a team of faculty, staff, and student assistants to manage all recruitment at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, and all to direct 3,000 undergraduate’s students careers goals and aspirations. As Director of the Internship Program, Ms. Wickey Byrd launched human trafficking education in the Summer of 2020, creating robust curriculum to enhance the student’s internship education. Since inception, she has collectively educated more than 3,000 students to be able to identify and report human trafficking in their workplaces within the hospitality and tourism industry.
Ms. Wickey Byrd has presented on numerous panels including Florida Attorney General Ashely Moody’s Human Trafficking Summit, Florida Department of Health with Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, UCF Police Department, Valencia College School of Public Safety, The Valencia College Peace and Justice Institute, and other anti-trafficking advocates.
Currently, Ms. Wickey Byrd is a member of the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force; she chairs the Central Florida National Academy Foundation’s Advisory Board for high schools with hospitality and tourism programs and works with WorldOrlando to combat trafficking globally.
In 2024, she was announced as the Executive Director of the UCF Center for the Study of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery. In this role, she will advance all anti-trafficking efforts for the college. The Center aims to be the global center of excellence in gathering and disseminating information to the community at large. Education, research, and community engagement are the pillars of the center, to be a resource for all anti-trafficking activities.
Ms. Wickey is an avid sailor, completing her pilot’s license and enjoys volunteering in the community, spending time with her husband and her American Bulldog Tessa.