The University of Iowa

Finance and Operations Women's History Month Features

F&O Celebrates Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month, an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when "Women's History Week" was born, with the first event taking place on March 7, 1982. In 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed another bill designating the entire month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

To celebrate, each week in March, Finance and Operations will be recognizing some of the dedicated women who work in and lead our departments.  Featured employees will be added below on a weekly basis throughout the month.

Meet the Women of Finance & Operations

Meet Adele

Adele Simone Vanarsdale is the director of campus project planning. She first came to the UI in 2012 and was a senior project manager with Design and Construction before she moved to Campus Planning and Development seven years ago.

Adele’s favorite part of her job is working with people to understand how they work and to offer ways in which the physical environment can be configured to support and promote their needs.

When asked what empowers her in the workplace, Adele shared her belief that the innate quality of empathy is the intangible difference in a successful project. “When people feel that you genuinely want the best for them, it is much easier to work through solutions when difficulties arise.”

Adele’s advice to women hoping to make an impact in the workplace is to seek out a mentor or someone in your discipline you can discuss work-related situations with and to “trust your gut.”

Meet Lynne

Lynne Finn is the associate vice president of Facilities Management and has been a part of the organization for eight years.

When asked about her favorite part of the job, Lynne shared how grateful she is to work at Facilities Management, an organization where people care about their work and are proud of their individual contributions to Hawkeye success. The best part of the job, says Lynne, is the employees she gets to work with each day.

When it comes to being empowered as a woman in the workplace, she is inspired by and proud of people who, despite any barriers, persevere to follow their calling. “It is important that all of us do everything we can to eliminate barriers, lift each other up, and help us all succeed.”

Lynne’s advice to anyone looking to thrive and make an impact in their field is to set an intention to learn every day from your experiences and the people around you. “Everyone has something to offer: knowledge, insight, or perspective.”

Rachel McGuire
Meet Rachel

Rachel McGuire has been in the role of assistant vice president and university controller since 2021 and has worked at the University of Iowa for just over 10 years. She began her career in the Controller’s Office and has worked in several different areas during her time at Iowa, including central accounting and finance for UIHC and the Department of Pediatrics in the Carver College of Medicine.  

When asked about her favorite part of the job, Rachel shared it was the opportunity to collaborate with so many talented individuals within Finance and Operations as well as across the entire organization.  “I am constantly learning from others at the University of Iowa, which aids in my continued growth as a leader. Having the opportunity to work with others from diverse backgrounds shows me different perspectives when we are looking for creative and effective solutions to questions.”  

Rachel feels empowered by her colleagues, family, and friends, and uses that strength to pursue success for everyone across the organization in each interaction that she has.  “I feel very privileged to be in the position that I am at the University of Iowa and to work with so many great people.”  

Her advice for those looking to make an impact in their field is to have confidence in your skills and talents and do not be afraid to show them.  “It doesn’t require an outgoing personality, but rather taking the opportunities that are presented to you, or that you create for yourself, and showing your strengths in anything you do.”

Sherry Miller
Meet Sherry

Sherry Reynolds-Miller began working at the University of Iowa as a student employee in 1991, first in the Business Office and then in the Scholarships Office.  During her 25 years at Iowa, she has utilized her talents in multiple areas like Accounts Payable, Purchasing, and Travel. Sherry has been in her current role as senior business analyst in Finance and Business Information Services for the last six years.   

Sherry’s favorite part of the job is having the opportunity to do project management and business analysis.  With the help and support of the whole team, she says she gets to participate in the creation of systems through understanding customer business needs and helping them to determine viable solutions.  “I really enjoy working with such a wide array of customers, learning about new challenges, and having the opportunity to make improvements,” says Sherry.  “It's gratifying when you can help others make a difference.”  

When asked what empowers her in the workplace, Sherry emphasized that being a female leader in a male-dominated environment helps her draw on her ability to build and foster relationships as well as be understanding and empathetic to others.  “I often have a different perspective or approach when exploring solutions that perhaps wouldn't exist otherwise,” she shared.  

Sherry’s advice to other women looking to make an impact in their field is to be confident, find your voice, keep learning, ask questions, and, most importantly, look out for each other.  “You don’t have to be loud to be heard, but be willing to speak.”

Julie Sychra
Meet Julie

Julie Sychra is the director of Building Operations & Maintenance for Facilities Management and has been with the organization for over five years. 

When asked what her favorite part of the job is, Julie shared that she loves being able to work with so many different individuals across campus and collaborating to make processes better for everyone. 

“I try to bring my whole self to work, and encourage others to do the same,” says Julie.  “I've been fortunate over the course of my career to have leaders who model and encourage bringing your full humanity to the table – with all the diversity of identities, as well as diverse life experiences.” 

Julie’s advice to women looking to make an impact in their field is to “follow your joy and your path will unfold.”

Lucy Wiederholt
Meet Lucy

Lucy Wiederholt will celebrate 38 years of service with the University of Iowa in September of this year. She currently serves as associate director and chief of police for Campus Safety. 

Lucy shared that her favorite part of the job is working with all the amazing people she has met over the span of her career at Iowa. 

Lucy said there were significantly fewer women working in law enforcement, both in Johnson County and across the country, when she began her career.  “While that decreased my mentor pool,” said Lucy, “it forced me to truly lean into my vision of what I wanted my career to look like and how I performed my job.” 

Lucy’s advice to women looking to make an impact is to be true to yourself and always strive to make the path easier for the women who follow you.