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Chemistry Department Administrative Manager Wears Many Hats

By Shannon Bryant
November 14, 2007

Photo by Christina VanHorn, Human Resources

As a woman of “many hats”, Cindi Rohwer has enjoyed a multi-faceted position as the administrative manager for the chemistry department for more than 13 years. Rohwer’s main duties include budget supervision and strategic planning, overseeing fund usage, graduate program orientation and maintenance, scheduling courses, and serving as the building contact for Parsons Hall, and the list goes on.

Chemistry is a growing department, with the retention for undergrad student majors increasing during the past five years. There are now 50 undergraduate chemistry major students plus 52 graduate students, 14 faculty, 6 post-docs and 5 core staff in the department.

Sharing her thoughts on supporting such a diverse group, Rohwer said “I think it is amazing how well we all get along. Sometimes I get to be the mom or the advisor, and then again sometimes I’m the principal.”

Additionally, Rohwer is the coordinator for such fun departmental activities as the annual awards, the department pie contest and the annual chili cook-off.

“I enjoy setting these up and encouraging participation. We draw judges, give out prizes and of course have bragging rights…it’s serious business,” Rohwer said.

Wishing to pursue a master’s degree but unable to do so financially, Rohwer came to UNH in January 1990 specifically for the educational benefit. She began her career as the administrative assistant for Susanne Bennett, director of plant maintenance in facilities at the time. Rohwer held the position for 4 ½ years. Upon obtaining her master’s degree, Rohwer decided to stay, citing her affinity for the UNH environment.

A variety of skills are required of Rohwer as the “fix it” person of the department. Having a good memory, strong organizational and good interpersonal skills, along with being mathematically adept allow Rohwer to function as a reference conduit on multiple levels and for a wide variety of requests.

“If I don’t know the answer, then I find the answer,” she says. “I am fortunate to have developed a strong networking system with many other UNH employees and departments. I really enjoy talking with whoever is needed at the time to get to the next step. I rely on those connections to help me make it all work.”

When asked about job satisfaction and what she enjoys most about UNH, Rohwer is quick to respond.

“I work with a great group of people. Every job is busy or has its rough days, but I have to say that my work environment is supportive and friendly. I’ve met some of the nicest people here in a variety of positions and departments, and especially enjoy the team I work with. My team is excellent. I have to brag there,” Rohwer said.

That team would be the support staff: Peg Torch, administrative assistant; Kristin McFarlane, chemistry stockroom; Jane Austin, organic stockroom; and Amy Lindsay, general chem coordinator.

“We have strong communication lines and we genuinely enjoy working together. I think we enhance the department/building environment with our cheerfulness and efficiency all rolled into one. I can’t say enough about how great they are,” Rohwer said.

“One thing in particular that had a great impact on me personally was with regard to a serious health issue I experienced last year. The outpouring of care and concern shown by my department and colleagues was overwhelming. I appreciated that level of support in my environment,” she added.

While free time is a limited commodity, Rohwer likes to garden and work on a variety of landscaping projects as time allows. She loves walking with her dog, Yuri, and also enjoys painting with watercolors.

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