Melinda Ickes

Melinda Ickes

Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies/Director of TFTA at the University of Kentucky

Position: Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies/ Director of TFTA

Organization: University of Kentucky

Program Name: Tobacco-Free Take Action; Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion

How long have you been involved in tobacco control?
Since 2012

What brought you to tobacco control work?
I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Ellen Hahn when I started at University of Kentucky. She asked me to help with the campus tobacco-free committee and then I helped start our organization called Tobacco-free Take Action. While we initially focused on promoting compliance with our existing tobacco-free policy, the efforts have grown and transitioned to focusing on advocacy and involving youth and young adults in these efforts.

What is your favorite part of empowering youth?
Many times youth believe they don’t have a say and that adults don’t care to listen to them. Empowering youth gives them a voice. It reinforces the valuable insight and capabilities they possess. I love watching the youth grow personally and professionally and coming up with their own path. The ‘aha’ moment when they realize they are making a difference is all worth it.

What do you do in your free time?
I love to be active (run, Burn, walk my dog) and spend time outside (preferably near the beach). I also love country music and like to read for fun when I get the chance.