In an effort to increase interest and education in construction and the building trades among young women, the University of Virginia’s Facilities Management Department will host its first Girls Day on June 14. Modeled after a traditional Take Your Daughter to Work Day program, Facilities Management employees will bring girls between the ages of 12-18 to participate in various planned activities to show off their work.

With more than 1,200 employees dedicated to excellence, Facilities Management is responsible for the day-to-day operation, repair and maintenance of UVA’s buildings, infrastructure, and grounds. The day, designed to inspire and excite girls to consider a career in these areas, will include behind-the-scenes tours of jobsites, shadowing the experienced professionals who keep the University up and running and participating in a number of hands-on activities alongside them.

Women hold top leadership roles at UVA Facilities Management, including the Director of Facilities Planning & Construction Annette Cyphers and the Director of Operations Cheryl Gomez. Prominent female leaders are also at the helm of other related departments, including University Building Official Elaine Gall and Architect for the University of Virginia Alice Raucher, in addition to Senior Vice President of Operations Colette Sheehy, who oversees the Facilities Management Department.

Girls Day tours will be hosted by the University’s dynamic women leaders who will speak about what they love about their jobs and the career paths they have followed. In addition, Girls Day participants will be treated to a lunchtime talk by NASA Astronaut Kathryn Thornton, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, who will speak about her service as a veteran of four space flights.

“The core of this event is to encourage more women in these non-traditional fields,” said Associate Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer Don Sundgren, a strong proponent of hiring females at Facilities Management in a variety of roles such as construction project management, engineering and the skilled trades.

UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan, noting that there is no one set path to success, encouraged young girls to explore careers that they may not have initially considered. Sullivan was the only female in her high school physics class, but she found taking that class “opened doors for me that led to more science opportunities — and eventually for my academic career,” she said. “UVA is proud to lead the way in creating environments that encourage the best and brightest women to enter and remain in these critically important fields.”

A full schedule of events and locations of tours is available upon request. More information about UVA Facilities Management Girls Day is available on-line: