Subburaj Named to New Professorship in WT College of Engineering; Position Meant to Inspire Underrepresented in STEM Fields

Chip Chandler Jan 26, 2022
  • Engineering
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Subburaj Named to New Professorship in WT College of Engineering; Position Meant to Inspire Underrepresented in STEM Fields

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — A new professorship named for a West Texas A&M University alumnus that’s meant to inspire women and other underrepresented groups in STEM fields will be filled by Dr. Anitha Subburaj.

The McFather Professorship of Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics was established this year as part of WT’s ongoing One West comprehensive fundraising campaign and in honor of Shane McFather, who graduated in 1987 with a degree in finance.

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.

In establishing the professorship, the McFather family wanted to make sure the professorship would be held—now and in the future—by an engineer, computer scientist or mathematician with a desire to encourage underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

“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.”

The family made the gift in recognition of the upcoming 10th anniversary of McFather’s death.

Subburaj joined the WT faculty in 2016. She earned a master’s degree in applied electronics in 2007 from Anna University in India and a doctoral degree in electrical engineering in 2014 at Texas Tech University, where she also worked as a post-doctoral research associate.

Like the McFather sisters, Subburaj was encouraged by her father, who died in 2008, to pursue a career 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.”

At WT, Subburaj teaches electrical circuits, power systems, signals and control systems. Her research interests include renewable energy, control systems, battery energy storage system, and battery connected to grid applications.

She has published in Renewable & Sustainable Energy Review Journal, IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications and International Journal of Renewable Energy Research.

“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 worked at Pantex, Baylor Bancshares and Amarillo National Bank, and 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.’”

Since the One West campaign launched publicly in September, WT’s number of endowed professorships has now doubled, from 25 before the campaign launched to 50 with the McFather professorship. Those 25 new professorships represent a minimum of more than $3 million in new donations to the WTAMU Foundation.

Sixty percent of the $125 million One West goal is dedicated to professorships and scholarships.

Recruiting, retaining and rewarding exceptional faculty is a key principle of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised more than $85 million.


About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs, 39 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.