CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A new professorship at West Texas A&M University is meant to “inspire women and other underrepresented groups in STEM field,” according to a press release from WT’s Communications Department.
Dr. Anitha Subburaj has been as the McFather Professorship of Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics, which was created this year as part of WT’s ongoing One West fundraising campaign and in honor of Shane McFather, who graduated in 1987 with a degree in finance.
According to WT, the $125,000 endowment was set up by Dr. Emily Hunt, dean of the University’s the College of Engineering; her mother, Jayne, of Lubbock; and her sister, Abbye McFather Reeves, also of Lubbock.
The McFather family explained that the professorship would be granted to an engineer, computer scientist or mathematician, who would focus on encouraging underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and math fields. The gift was in recognition of the upcoming 10th anniversary of McFather’s death.
“My dad was a feminist in every sense of the word,” Hunt said. “He promoted women in science and math-based fields before it was a trend to do so. He raised two daughters to pursue active careers that would serve and educate others in their communities. He would be delighted with the choice of Dr. Subburaj, who leads in the area of energy system research while demonstrating notable character and outreach. My mother, sister and I view this endowment as a way to honor him and carry his legacy forward.”
WT detailed that Subburaj joined the WT faculty in 2016 and has earned a master’s degree in applied electronics in 2017 from Anna University in India and a doctoral degree in electrical engineering in 2014 at Texas Tech University.
Subburaj said that, like the McFather sisters, her father, who died in 2008, played an important role in her career pursuit in STEM.
“My father was a first-generation engineer himself and was someone who fully trusted in my capabilities,” Subburaj said. “Now, as a woman in the STEM field myself and as the mom of two beautiful daughters, my lifetime goal is to encourage as many women as possible to enter STEM fields. It is not an easy journey, but all of the hard work, sacrifices and struggles pay off.”
According to the release, Subburaj teaches electrical circuits, power systems, and control systems at WT, with her research interests including renewable energy, control systems, battery energy storage systems, and battery connected to grid applications.
Subburaj has also published multiple renewable energy research journals, according to WT.
“Faculty and staff giving is an important element at a university,” said Dr. Todd Rasberry, vice president for philanthropy and external relations. “The memorial gift from Dean Hunt and her family is more than a legacy to her father. It is an investment in the exceptional educational experience WT offers and an affirmation for all our donors about the University.”
McFather’s daughters further explained that their father worked at Pantex, Baylor Bancshares and Amarillo National Bank, as he “placed a high value on education.”
“Dad always taught us to serve others first,” said Reeves, his Lubbock-based daughter. “He inspired us to make the world better. He always said, ‘See the good. Be the good.’”