#ProfilesOfTenacity: Willie Daniely

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Willie Daniely

February 18, 2021

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study? 

I have always been a naturally curious person, asking a lot of questions about any and everything as a little kid. As I grew older it just seemed to naturally evolve into me wanting to be a journalist. In ninth grade, my mom told me about a summer camp at Grady, now the Media and Leadership Academy, where I could learn about broadcasting, and the rest is history.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, having tenacity is being determined to accomplish your goal, whatever that may be — being able to think outside the box, adapt and persevere to finish.  

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

Last summer I got my dream internship in New York City with NBC. Unfortunately, the world had different plans and I was not able to go due to COVID-19. Although I didn’t go to New York, I had a virtual internship, and it was great to achieve something that I had been working toward for so long.

Where is your favorite place on campus?

One day I stumbled upon the Jackson Street Building and thought it was the coolest building on campus. I love walking through the studio and seeing all the work that the landscape architecture students have done. 

What is your most memorable Grady experience? 

My most memorable Grady experience has to be during my first summer as a high schooler. That week was my first glimpse into Grady, and I fell in love with the college. It was such a fun time, it was awesome to get familiar with many of the faces that I would encounter as a student. 

What is your favorite app or social media channel?

If I have to choose, I probably spend the most time on Twitter.

What are you passionate about?  

A few of the things that I am most passionate about are traveling, social issues and politics. Any chance that I get to travel I always jump at it. Being a young Black man in America, my attention is automatically drawn to social issues and combating inequality, which resulted in me developing an interest in politics. 

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA? 

The staff at Grady College. If the people who work in Grady had not been so welcoming, interesting and beneficial to me, I would not have chosen UGA.  From my time as a camper, all the way to now as a senior, they have always been there to help in any way they can.

Who is your professional hero?

Don Lemon. Being an aspiring journalist, Black man and advocate for social justice, Don Lemon has served as a fantastic role model that I aspire to have a career like.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?  

The best piece of advice I have ever gotten is to keep an open mind about everything.  I credit my parents for giving me this mentality that keeps me from passing judgments before I try things. That mindset has also helped open doors for me. 

What is an example of a time you used your studies and skills in a real-world experience?

I have been lucky throughout my time at Grady to be given many opportunities to apply what I learn in the classroom to the work I produce. To commemorate the 60th anniversary of desegregation at UGA, I was given the chance to interview Charlayne Hunter-Gault, one of UGA’s two first black students. Being a Black student at UGA, that will always be an interview that I look back on with pride. 

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I enjoy watching movies. Out of all the films I have ever seen, my favorite movie is and forever will be “Speed Racer.”

What are you planning to do after graduating? What is your dream job?

After graduation I plan to pursue a career in broadcasting. My ultimate career goal is to be a news anchor.

What has been the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and future professional?

That hardest part of adjusting to life in a world with COVID-19 has been making lasting connections. I have been given networking opportunities and internships that are virtual, but it is harder to connect with someone through a screen. It takes a lot more intentional effort to connect with others.