Alumni Spotlight: Linda Finley '81
This spotlight is part of our 2022 Women's History Month feature.
Linda Finley ’81, mechanical engineering, has paved the way for countless women in engineering.
When Linda came to UC Davis in 1979 to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering, she quickly joined the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). At the time, SWE was struggling. It was important to Linda that the student chapter thrive, and she served as president for two years. Some of the events established under her leadership, including the popular “Night with Industry,” still happen today. Linda also supported SWE as an alumna, serving as their professional advisor for 25 years.
During Linda’s more than 40 years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, she worked as an engineer, program manager and senior leader. She credits UC Davis’ focus on engineering fundamentals as one of the primary sources of preparation for these roles. The fundamentals—what is engineering, analytical thinking and logic approach—allowed her to have a strong foundation from which to grow in different programs and leadership positions. Linda encouraged many women with aptitude in math and science to pursue engineering throughout her career. She also modeled the way with a steadfast approach to work-life balance to maintain a positive career and home life.
Perhaps most notable among Linda’s many contributions to women in engineering is her daughters, both of whom have chosen engineering as their career path. Linda describes this legacy as one of the best compliments of her entire career.