Q&A with Senior Research Administrator Donna Krekel

photo of Donna Krekel

Donna Krekel discusses her rise through the ranks at Washington University and her love of staying busy, creating things, and fast rides.

How long have you been with the Department of Otolaryngology and what did you do prior to that?

photo of Krekel garden
One of the many ways Donna Krekel stays busy is by tending her garden.

I started with ENT as a Research Administrator in 2014. I was first hired at Washington University in 1994 – 29 years ago – as a purchasing assistant for the Division of Infectious Diseases. In 1999, I transferred to Rheumatology and worked as a payroll assistant. It was there that I started to take on responsibilities as a Research Administrator. This is where my love for grant proposals began!

What do you like most about your work here?

I love being able to work from home and of course, all the friendships I’ve gained. I have some amazing colleagues here!  The WashU tuition benefit was also a nice perk. Our son attended Linn State Technical College and earned his degree and certification as an aviation mechanic, and everything was paid in full.

What was your childhood like?

I grew up in Affton, Missouri, with one sister and two brothers. I moved to Union, Missouri in 1994, where we live still. It’s a pretty long commute but worth it. I was very thankful for Ridefinders, who supplied a van for our small group that commuted every day.

photo of Krekel with grandson
Krekel shares a laugh with grandson Harrison.

What spare time activities bring you the most joy?

I love gardening, baking, taking care of animals, and making things.  For example, I have crocheted Red Hats for the Heart Foundation for many years and created many softball team league T-Shirts. I love hiking and have hiked all over the State Parks, marking them off in my State Parks Centennial Passport.

My husband drag races so we travel to dragstrips on the weekends for races! (Yes, I always have my earplugs in!) I’m not one to sit idle for too long.  I love taking pictures, I’m not an expert by any means but I am the one to capture memories at any event. Spoiling my grand pups is on my list…they get a monthly shipment of bones sent to them and know when I show up to visit I have something special for them. However, my biggest joy is being with my family and my new grandson!

photo of Krekel working on car
Krekel removes the valve cover to check clearance on a 1998 Chevy S10, 413 cubic inch small block Chevy with four link suspension (runs 5.90 seconds in the 1/8 mile at 115 mph).

Is there a special something at the top of your bucket list, and why?

I would love to attend NHRA Four-Wide races! Taking a cruise would also be on that list, but most important would have to be moving closer to my grandson.

What would most surprise your colleagues to learn about you?

In my younger years, I was a weight lifting competitor and judge for local competitions. I placed 1st in my weight class in bodybuilding. I have also helped my dad work on cars since I was a pre-teen and now help my husband with maintenance of the race cars.