For the last several years, our University Archives Women’s History Month exhibit entitled “The Women Who Shaped Texas Tech” has graced our hallways. It celebrates women whose influence on Texas Tech University is still felt today. This year’s honorees represent some of the best and brightest contributors to Tech’s excellence.
Ginger Kerrick was born on November 28, 1969, in El Paso, Texas, and spent her youth dreaming of a future career in space and athletics. A knee injury early in her college years led her to focus full-time on science education, and so she transferred to Texas Tech University with the help of scholarships and student job opportunities procured by Dr. Walter Borst of the Physics Department. She earned her B.S. in 1991 and her M.S. in 1993, both in the field of physics. An internship with the Johnson Space Center got her foot in NASA’s door, and her dogged determination to gain full-time employment with the agency proved successful despite a hiring freeze and disqualification from the astronaut interview process due to a health issue. Employed for over two decades with NASA, Ginger held multiple positions, most notably as the first non-astronaut capsule communicator in 2001 and as a flight director in 2005. She is the first Hispanic female to hold that position.
Jeannine McHaney is credited with establishing and growing Texas Tech’s women’s athletic program. She began her career at the university in 1965 as an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. In 1966 she was appointed the Women’s Intramural Director and given a measly annual budget of $500 to run the program. It was only able to exist due in part to coaches contributing their time for free. In addition, Jeannine served as the volleyball and gymnastics coach. With the enactment of Title IX in 1975, Jeannine was appointed as the first Women’s Athletic Director and, during her 10-year term in that role, she grappled with issues such as inadequate funding and poor facilities for women’s athletic teams. Over the course of her 28 years with TTU, Jeannine was influential in women’s athletics in both the Southwest Athletic Conference and the NCAA. Among her many accolades was being named the 1993 Administrator of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
Born in 1949 in San Angelo, Texas, Tina Fuentes knew from a young age that art was her calling. She accordingly channeled her passion, strength, and understanding of the fundamentals of composition, perspective, and color into becoming a nationally recognized multi-media artist. She earned a B.F.A. in 1973 and an M.F.A. in 1975 from North Texas State University. Tina specializes in the areas of painting, drawing, and printmaking. Since 1982 her work has been featured in numerous one-woman and multi-artist exhibitions, as well as a documentary film, El Arte de Tina Fuentes that was broadcast on PBS. She has received several artist-in-residence awards, faculty awards, and research grants, with the most recent being a sizable National Science Foundation collaborative grant with TTU Atmospheric Science Professor Eric Bruning. Tina also shares her love of art with students through a long teaching career that began in 1972 in the Abilene I.S.D. and continues into 2017 at Texas Tech, where she is a tenured professor in the School of Art.