Enrico Pontelli, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, presents Srini Kankanahalli, his award as a 2019 distinguished alumnus during NMSU homecoming festivities. (NMSU Photo by Amanda Adame)
One of New Mexico State University’s Distinguished Alumni for 2019 has created an endowed a scholarship for computer science students in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Srini Kankanahalli graduated from NMSU in 1991 with a Ph.D. in computer science and a focus on artificial intelligence and neural networks. The university honored him as a distinguished alumnus during fall Homecoming events for his many contributions to the university.
“NMSU Computer Science has given me very high quality Education and it is a great Department with a very bright future,” Kankanahalli said. “Computer Science skills will be important for individuals to succeed in many fields including Biology, Medicine, Engineering and Law.”
Kankanahalli has mentored 70 master’s students and three Ph.D. students, published 80 research papers, launched three companies and employed more than 250 people.
Kankanahalli and his wife Harini also contribute to the Akshaya Patra foundation, which provides food to poor children across the world and contributed to a school in rural India to provide free elementary education.
“My wife Harini and I believe education levels the playing field and provides opportunity for everyone to succeed. ”
As the founder and Chief Technology Officer of his third company, clearAvenue, Kankanahalli is mentoring multiple paid interns, yet still found time to come back to NMSU from the Washington, D.C. area to give inspiring lectures to students and faculty.
The Kankanahalli Endowed Scholarship for NMSU’s Computer Science Department in the College of Arts and Sciences will be used to
make awards to one or more undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in computer science who demonstrate a financial need. The preference will be to support women seeking a computer science degree.
“We believe it is important to attract Women to STEM disciplines and provide them ample opportunities to succeed,” Kankanahalli said. “Right now, the representation of women in STEM disciplines is low and we all have to attract and encourage more women to participate.”
In 2019 NMSU was ranked 22nd among four-year public universities in the U.S. for enrolling and graduating women in computer science according to data analysis compiled by “The Chronicle of Higher Education.” While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer science research jobs will grow 19 percent by 2026, women earn only 18 percent of computer science bachelor’s degrees in this country despite a high demand for women in computing.
“Srini has been an invaluable supporter of our computer science program,” said Enrico Pontelli, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “At a critical moment in the launch of the NMSU Google Campus initiative, the College of Arts and Sciences was short on funding required to send five students from NMSU to Google’s Palo Alto complex. Srini and his wife Harini stepped up and made a crucial investment, which ultimately allowed the program to succeed.
“They also showed sincere generosity by making a substantial contribution to help establish the Professor Hue and Pat McCoy Endowed Professorship at NMSU, which will provide crucial support for recruiting and retaining top-notch faculty in Computer Science. This endowed scholarship is just one more example of Srini and his wife Harini’s commitment to education.”
“We are honored and grateful that Srini and Harini continue to invest in our students, providing sustained support for both current needs and future opportunities,” said Tina Byford, interim vice president of University Advancement. “We look forward to hearing the success stories this endowed scholarship will help make possible.”
To find out more about the Kankanahalli Endowed Scholarship contact Patrick Knapp, firstname.lastname@example.org, 575-646-1613.
Author: Minerva Baumann – NMSU