Barker scholarship benefits Texas A&M nuclear engineering program

David G. Barker of Kerrville, Texas, will endow a scholarship for nuclear engineering undergraduates at Texas A&M University."This gift is important to me because I wanted to help the Department of Nuclear Engineering attract qualified students," said Barker, a general manager with Dril-Quip Inc.David G. Barker, Texas A&M Class of 1966His initial gift of $12,500, funded through the Texas A&M Foundation, will establish the David G. Barker '66 Scholarship. Matching funds from Ray Rothrock of Portola Valley, Calif., will increase the endowment to $25,000. Preference will be given to applicants with financial need who are Texas and U.S. residents and demonstrate great promise in their work and academic achievement."We are honored and excited that graduates like David Barker and Ray Rothrock are helping the department provide opportunities to attract the very best and worthiest students to nuclear engineering at Texas A&M. At a time of 'Nuclear Renaissance' in the country, we see a competitive environment for the best students, and these gifts will ensure that we maintain our national stature as the 'go-to' educational institution for nuclear science and technology," said Ray Juzaitis, nuclear engineering department head and holder of the Sallie and Don Davis Professorship in Engineering.The scholarship is part of the Robert G. Cochran Scholars Program, honoring the first Texas A&M nuclear engineering department head. Cochran served 22 years and under his leadership the discipline's first undergraduate program emerged as did Texas A&M's signature specialties in reactor physics and analysis, reactor safety and thermal hydraulics, health physics and computational methods.Barker, Texas A&M Class of 1966, earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and then a master's in nuclear engineering in 1968 before beginning his professional career at Todd Shipyards Corp., Nuclear Division as a nuclear engineer on the NS Savannah Program.He later joined the H.B. Zachry Co., where he was a quality assurance supervisor and a project engineer for the construction of nuclear and fossil electric generating stations.Barker then worked 32 years for Houston Lighting & Power and its succession companies, Reliant Energy and CenterPoint Energy. He had progressive assignments and managed major electric energy projects such as the South Texas Nuclear Project, and retired as president and chief operating officer of CenterPoint Energy Management Services.He later joined Dril-Quip Inc., a leader in the oil and gas subsea equipment sector, where he has managed manufacturing and project management from the company's location in Houston, Texas.Barker is a registered professional engineer in Texas and has completed executive management programs at the University of Idaho and Penn State.At Texas A&M he has been inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Graduates in the mechanical engineering department and is a 31-year member of the Association of Former Students Century Club."Many people look back on their academic careers and can think of at least one teacher or professor who had a significant impact on them. This gift from David further demonstrates his desire to help Aggie students for generations to come, and acknowledges the impact that a teacher can have on a student," said Andrew Acker, director of development for engineering with the Texas A&M Foundation.The Department of Nuclear Engineering is one of 12 departments in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M. U.S. News & World Report ranks the department second in undergraduate and graduate programs among the nation's public universities.Written by Exa York