Inside Header Image


Jessica Wickey Byrd

Executive Director, UCF Center for the Study of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

E-mail: jwb@ucf.edu

Phone: 407.903.8018

RCHM Room: 109


Dr. Jessica Wickey CV

Jessica Wickey Byrd is a double UCF alumnus, graduating with her master’s degree in hospitality and tourism management from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management in 2013 and her doctorate in Educational Leadership, with a focus on Higher Education in 2024 from the College of Innovation and Education. Her collegiate journey has been a lifelong dream. Dr. Wickey Byrd is a first-generation college student, and the first ever in her family to earn a doctoral degree.

Dr. Wickey Byrd has 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including restaurants, resorts, events, convention centers, non-profit fundraising, and live entertainment.

Dr. Wickey Byrd leads a team of faculty, staff, and student assistants to manage all recruitment at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management – directing 3,000 undergraduate’s students’ careers goals and aspirations. Her goal is for students to find the best version of themselves, and find passion and purpose in their future careers.

As Director of the Internship Program, Dr. 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 5,700 students to be able to identify and report human trafficking in their workplaces within the hospitality and tourism industry.

Dr. 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, Dr. 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 and the US Department of State 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.

Dr. Wickey Byrd is an avid sailor, completing her pilot’s license and enjoys volunteering in the community, spending time with her husband Greg and her American Bulldog Tessa.