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K-State Today

April 5, 2018

Anita Cortez to retire after 33 years

Submitted by Steven Dandaneau

Anita Cortez

Anita Cortez, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry and the Developing Scholars Program, is retiring at the end of the summer after serving Kansas State University in a variety of important roles over 33 years.

A native of Wyoming, Cortez began at K-State in 1985 as an instructor in the English department. Among her many undertakings and accomplishments, Cortez served as founding director of the PILOTS Program for the Retention of At-Risk Freshman and the founding director of the Developing Scholars Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program, now in its 18th year. She was instrumental in obtaining the first NIH Bridges to the Future grant, now in its 13th year, and is also founding director of the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry. In these capacities, she has inaugurated numerous programs and annual events for the benefit of undergraduate students universitywide, including the DSP Research Symposium and the University Distinguished Undergraduate Research Awards for faculty and students.

Cortez has been recognized by Excelencia in Education, Commerce Bank Presidential Award for Distinguished Service to Multicultural Education, and the Provost's Award for Outstanding Enhancement of Diversity. In 2016, K-State faculty nominated the Developing Scholars Program for the U.S. National Science Foundation's Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. In 2018, Stefan Bossmann and Chris Culbertson celebrated Cortez's leadership in their Spotlight presentation.

Cortez earned her bachelor's degree in English, summa cum laude, from Kansas State University in 1983 and her master's in English from the University of Wyoming in 1985. She has presented and published on academic enrichment programs and collaborated in numerous extramural grants.

Cortez has touched the lives of hundreds of K-State students and facilitated their remarkable academic and career achievements. In lieu of a reception, Cortez invites the K-State community to celebrate undergraduate research through attendance at the 18th annual Developing Scholars Symposium from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 15, in the K-State Student Union Ballroom.

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