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Kansas State University
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College of Human Ecology honors six for professional accomplishments

Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 

MANHATTAN — A New York catering director, an innovative physician and an international hotel owner are among the individuals who will receive awards at the annual College of Human Ecology Celebration of Excellence at Kansas State University.

The six honorees were selected for outstanding contributions to their disciplines. John Buckwalter, dean of the college, will make the award presentations at a luncheon Friday, Oct. 16.

The six awardees are Andrea Albright, Rae Anderson, Emily Diederich, W.A. Colin Noble, Andrea Oltjen and the Financial Planning Association of Greater Kansas City, which receives the Partner Award.

Diederich is a pulmonary and critical care physician at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. She serves as endowed director of simulation for the Zamierowski Institute of Experiential Learning, a training center for health care students and professionals from the University of Kansas Hospital and KU Medical Center.

The assistant professor graduated from Kansas State University in 1999 and 2001 with bachelor's and master's degrees in kinesiology. She receives a Rising Professional Alumni Award.

Diederich's advocacy of simulation-based learning grew from her conviction that the most critical step for any medical practitioner is to practice requisite skills. She developed a simulation-based curriculum in critical care and has written and presented extensively on simulation-based education.

Board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary and critical care, Diederich serves as co-chair of the American College of Chest Physicians Difficult Airway Simulation Course.

Anderson, Manhattan, believes that quality child care and healthy, well-educated children are essential to a successful nation. She is director of the National Center on Early Head Start and Child Care Partnerships.

The 1982 Kansas State University graduate in family life and human development receives the Public Advocacy Alumni Award for making a significant impact on issues important to the field of human ecology.

In her more than 32 years of experience in public social services to children and families, Anderson served as a child care state systems specialist where she supported collaborative cross-systems work, developed innovative research-based solutions and promoted early childhood systems development at the state, regional and national levels. Currently she works with Zero to Three helping to ensure that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life.

Noble's friendship with the College of Human Ecology touches several programs and many students. The president and CEO of Noble Hospitality Inc. receives the Friend of the College Award.

Noble, Manhattan, helped establish the Noble-McCants Study Abroad Award for Northern Ireland. The funds enable students to participate in Peace and Conflict in Northern Ireland, a study in international conflict and trauma that examines the historical, political and religious roots of Northern Ireland's conflicts and the prospects for continued and sustainable peace. Noble has served on the hospitality management program advisory board and helps fund an exchange program between hospitality management students at Kansas State University and Ulster University, Northern Ireland.

Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Noble's company has owned or managed more than 125 hotels in 22 states throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The Financial Planning Association of Greater Kansas City, which is based in Topeka, is honored for its sustained partnerships with the college to enhance student and faculty research, internships and other educational opportunities.

The association is the pre-eminent organization for financial planning professionals in the Greater Kansas City area, northern Kansas and western Missouri. The group provides a forum for education and career development for its members while adhering to the highest ethical and professional standards. Members have actively offered the same opportunities to students in Kansas State University's personal financial planning program.

The group welcomes students to meetings and encourages them to network. It hosts an annual career fair and pays national dues for student chapter officers each year. The group provides guest speakers and professional contacts for personal financial planning classes and helps students better understand the profession they are about to enter.

Albright, a 2005 Kansas State University graduate in apparel and textile science, has been selected for the Executive Leadership Alumni Award. She is vice president and divisional merchandise manager for intimate apparel at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Arkansas.

Albright is responsible for developing product strategy and execution of a business plan for a more than $2 billion business. As a divisional merchandise manager, she coordinates buying, sourcing, replenishment and planning for intimate apparel, sleepwear, bras, underwear, shapewear, socks and hosiery. She is also active in teaching, training and mentoring for Wal-Mart U.S. and international divisions.

A mentor in the college's Professional Mentoring Program, Albright serves on the Apparel and Textiles Professional Advisory Board. As a student she completed internships in Taiwan and England.

Oltjen, a 2007 hotel and restaurant management graduate, receives a Rising Professional Alumni Award. She is director of catering and events sales with the Martha Washington & Marta Restaurant, Chelsea Hotels in New York City. The fourth generation in her family to attend Kansas State University, Oltjen leads the events team responsible for contracting $2.5 million in catering revenue for the boutique property.

She has worked with W Hotels in Chicago; Hyatt Regency Greenwich, Connecticut; and Delmar Greenwich Harbor on Long Island Sound where she planned events and contracted guest rooms for celebrities and dignitaries. She then opened the Hyatt Times Square in New York as event sales manager, helping develop the catering and events processes. 


College of Human Ecology

News tip

Kansas City, Manhattan and Topeka, Kansas;Bentonville, Arkansas; Kansas City, Missouri; and New York, New York.

Written by

Jane P. Marshall

At a glance

Kansas State University's College of Human Ecology is recognizing five alumni and one association for excellence.