The University of Iowa

Women's History Month Features

Meet the Women of FM

March is Women's History Month. To recognize women's important contribution to history and culture, we're celebrating some of the incredible women in Facilities Management. Keep an eye out for new features each week!

A photo of a woman with short, dark blonde hair in a red blazer. Text: Julie Sychra
Julie Sychra, Director, Building Operations and Maintenance

“I had a passion for math and science at a young age which led me to engineering.  That turned into a nearly 15-year career with manufacturing where I found my love for building teams and making work easier through continuous improvement.  I’ve really enjoyed bringing that to the University of Iowa and working with the talented teams we have across FM.  Collaborating with individuals who represent diversity across a wide range of identities and life experiences makes my role interesting and fun.  My female high school chemistry teacher used to say, ‘Follow your joy and your path will unfold’ and I’ve found that to be great advice for both work and life!” 

A photo of a woman with light brown hair and glasses. Text: Steph Rourke
Steph Rourke, Manager, FM@YourService

“I have worked with all kinds of people in my career. Many times with challenging situations and non-supporters. I have found that gravitating to those that support, encourage, offer opportunities, and provide honest feedback will walk the path of success with you.” 

A photo of a woman with long, dark brown hair. Text: Jenna Wischmeyer
Jenna Wischmeyer, Environmental Compliance Director

"Growing up, I didn’t see many female leaders, but now I work at a university where both the president and the FM director are women. How great is that?! It is encouraging to see this forward progress during my lifetime, and I'm excited to see what is yet to come. We all play an important part in improving gender bias; your actions make a difference. Change happens one day at a time." 

A photo of a woman with long, dark hair in blue-tinted sunglasses. Text: Darice Baxter
Darice Baxter, Environmental Specialist

"My Korean mother emigrated to the US and her resilience in the face of adversity instilled in me that women are more than equal: that we can do anything, be anything and overcome anything." 

A photo of a woman with long, light brown hair. Text: Jessica Creeden
Jessica Creeden, Groundskeeper II

“'When I started at FM, I was one of two women in a team of 40. While some would be intimidated by that, I wasn’t.  I’ve always perceived myself as a capable person, ignoring any typical gender roles.  I think initially my coworkers underestimated my abilities, but I quickly earned their respect and trust through hard work.  Anything they can do I can do better ;)" 

A woman with long brown hair in a red blouse. Text: Julie Troendle, Construction Project Specialist
Julie Troendle, Construction Project Specialist

“Everyone should strive for what they want. There will always be hurdles, and I would argue that underrepresentation is not one of those. It could be a benefit. It’s fun being around different people and bringing a different perspective. Let it work for you!” 

A woman with long blonde hair and bangs. Text: Christina Moser, Supervisor, Custodian Services
Christina Moser, Supervisor, Custodian Services

“Being a woman custodial supervisor, I am in a minority. For this reason, I find myself keeping an open mind when hiring or interacting with my crew.” 

A woman with black hair pulled back in a ponytail. Text: Lupita Wombacher, Supervisor, Custodian Services
Lupita Wombacher, Supervisor, Custodian Services

“Working in FM as a custodial supervisor was such a challenge at first, now I challenge myself to be better each day because I know this will help me to advance in my career when the time comes. I’m the only person who can stop me from doing amazing things!” 

A photo of a woman with long dark brown hair in a jean jacket and black turtleneck sweater. Text: Nichol Toomire
Nichol Toomire, Associate Director, Utilities and Energy

“You are the architect of your career and life, take the time to plan, manage and reflect on it frequently. Develop a career plan, identify what skills you need to achieve your goals, build your network of supporters, and learn to ask for what you want. 

Do not wait for others to recognize your hard work, your skills. You can make your dreams a reality.” 

A photo of a woman with short, curly blonde hair in a black blouse. Text: Lynne Finn
Lynne Finn, Associate Vice President, Facilities Management

“I’m grateful to for work an organization with people who care so much about their work and their individual contributions to Hawkeye success. That’s the best part of my job—the employees.  

I’m inspired by and proud of people who persevere to follow their calling despite the barriers they may face. It is important that all of us do everything we can to eliminate barriers, lift each other up, and help us all succeed.”