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Outstanding December Graduate: Chandler Keck

CALS Animal Science and Poultry Science grad Chandler Keck

The first time Chandler Keck set foot on a farm was at CALS.

CALS grad Chandler KeckGrowing up, his mom worked at a bank and his dad owned an autobody shop. Keck knew he loved animals because of the family’s four dogs, so he chose to major in animal science — and ended up finding his calling.

Keck graduates in December after a “jam-packed” four years at CALS. He’s earned a dual degree in animal science and poultry science. And he received an impressive five scholarships: the Marvin & Grace Johnson Poultry Science Scholarship, the Carolina Feed Industry Association Scholarship, the NC State University Feed Science Scholarship, the NC Breeder Hatchery Association, Inc. Scholarship and the CALS Ag Foundation Scholarship.

After exploring his options through internships and industry relationships, Keck has chosen to return to the Prestage Department of Poultry Science for graduate school.

“Graduation is icing on the cake, where you look back and see that your hard work has paid off,” Keck said. “My grandpa and my brother both went to NC State, and I’m really proud of our university.

Keck’s work supervisor in the Prestage Department of Poultry Science, Becca Wysocky, called Keck one of the most “stellar and dependable” students the department has ever employed.

Prestage Dept. of Poutry Science student introduces a child to a baby chicken during Farm Animal Days.

“He even volunteered to come back to work during his summer internship if we were ever in a pinch during a large research project,” Wysocky said. “He’s a remarkable young man and … just an all-around good guy.”

Keck’s original goal was veterinary school, but he quickly realized it was the wrong path. He got in touch with Lynn Worley-Davis, the advisor for the poultry science department, to talk about other options. Worley-Davis was “incredible,” Keck said, filling him in on the plethora of career options available in poultry science and guiding him through the process of signing up for a second major.

Keck fell in love with poultry science after his first class. He sought out real-world experience through multiple internships as an undergraduate, ranging from poultry processing to writing food safety operating procedures. He appreciated the college’s willingness to let him find his own path.

“They allowed me to improvise and gave me resources to figure out what I wanted to do,” Keck said.

That adaptability is what helped him find success, Keck said. He never expected to go into poultry science.

“I would tell upcoming students to be open to new things,” Keck said. “Don’t be set on one thing — let yourself find your passion, then go with it.”

This post was originally published in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences News.