Katie Hicken: "Don't be afraid to have the tough conversations"
Katie Hicken is student at the University of Texas at Tyler where she also shines as a top player for the collegiate golf team and serves as President of the PERIOD @ Tyler chapter. On top of her many accomplishments as a student-athlete and leader, she was also recently elected as Vice President for the UT Tyler Student Government where she made now serves in a majority-female executive cabinet. Katie has hit the ground running since being elected, leading projects dedicated specifically to alleviating financial burden on students including menstrual equity policy, accessible childcare services, and food insecurity alleviation. When tackling obstacles like these with her campus administration, Katie lives by this philosophy: “Don’t be afraid to have the tough conversations”.
Katie first garnered her leadership skills during her childhood, as a member of the Mormon church. She led the youth classes as the President by the age of fourteen, where she would conduct meetings and plan activities for her fellow classmates. Katie’s leadership capabilities carried into her collegiate career when she joined the Student Government Association at the University of Texas at Tyler. After only a single semester serving as an SGA Senator, Katie was nominated and quickly elected to a cabinet position. It was only natural for Katie to progress into a higher leadership position, requiring an election. Katie recently ran a successful executive ticket campaign alongside another female student, creating a majority-female cabinet at UT Tyler. As a result, Katie now serves her campus as the Vice President of Student Government.
Thus far, Katie has worked on various projects at her university that are dedicated to the well-being of fellow students. During her first year, Katie helped implement a food pantry, a designated resource of food for students to utilize to alleviate food insecurity, on their campus. Now, Katie is working to provide an childcare service for students and faculty alike to utilize while at the university. However, her activism doesn’t end with her dedication to Student Government.
Currently, Katie serves as the President of PERIOD @ UT Tyler, a local chapter of a national organization dedicated to menstrual equity. Through her leadership in this capacity, Katie is working to bring free menstrual hygiene products to restroom facilities at her university. Soon, Katie hopes to introduce new free dispensing product machines that will not only modernize menstrual hygiene product technology but also provide a secure dispensing format for students. Katie leads these initiatives at UT Tyler with hopes of easing the financial burden on students knowing how expensive college can be. Katie believes that UT Tyler’s non-traditional demographic of students requires the campus administration to be understanding and flexible with their resources, especially when it comes to student finances.
As she looks to the future, Katie knows she may face barriers to politics outside of her university’s scope. She believes she has received equal and ample opportunity to succeed thus far but is prepared for her future ahead in politics. Katie advises other young women interested in pursuing careers in politics to stand for what they believe in, saying “don’t be afraid to have the tough conversations.”