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Working at CSU

Celebrate! CSU Milestone: Deryl Keney, 40 years

April 8, 2014
Geneva Mueller

For Deryl Keney, a laboratory coordinator in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 40 years of dedicated service to CSU hasn't yet been enough.

Growing up in Gallup, N.M., she always liked Colorado and was excited when the opportunity to move to Fort Collins presented itself. When she was in high school, her father worked as a surgeon and general practitioner at the Native American hospital in their town. This gave young Deryl the opportunity to explore her love and talent within the scientific world and to discover her interest in pathology.

“I originally wanted to be a veterinarian, but back then it was very difficult for women to get into vet school,” Keney said. “I had the opportunity to work as a pathologist at the Indian hospital where my dad worked; I had always liked biology and I ended up getting my master’s in endocrinology.”

Keney obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees from New Mexico State University. After moving to Colorado, she put her application in at CSU. Dr. Johannes Storz who noticed her application and hired her on to work in his lab.

In charge of all the labs on campus

Today Keney is in charge of all the labs on campus. Part of her job as lab coordinator is hiring and training work-study students to prepare media for use in all the University’s lab classes. In her work, Keney has the unique experience of working on both ends of the spectrum — in the lab and in close contact with the students. It is typical for her to hire four work-study students per semester.

“I teach them how to make the media, how to use the equipment. I usually have four students per semester and they love working here,” Keney said. “Most of them are micro[biology] majors and it really helps them in their studies. When they’re taking the labs, they understand what’s going on because they’ve made the media.”

Her own work is in virology. While working with Dr. Storz, she was able to take all of the virology courses available and has since enjoyed specializing in that area.

“Viruses have to grow in cells; you can’t just place them on media like you can bacteria. So I have to grow the cells for the viruses that the students then use in their labs,” Keney said.

Go-to person

After 40 years, Keney says that it feels nice to be in charge; she’s the go-to person in the department and things run smoothly. She genuinely enjoys the work that she does on a daily basis.

In her spare time, Keney teaches and performs folk dance and has been doing so since the 1970s. She is part of a performance group called the Storm Mountain Folk Dancers that performs, competes and teaches folk dance throughout Colorado and beyond. She enjoys spending time with her husband who is “more of a freestyle dancer” and enjoys all of the outdoor opportunities that living in Colorado presents.

Keney has proven her dedication to the University throughout her 40 years of service here. “I love the job and they love me,” she said. “There’s no reason to leave.”

Celebrate! CSU Milestones honors University employees for years of service and retirement, and will be held this year on April 30, 4 p.m., in the Hilton Fort Collins Ballroom. Between now and then, Today @ Colorado State will be featuring selected employees Celebrating! Milestones this year.