Texas Tech University

Daniels Pursues, Excels in Acting Career with Journalism Training

Andrea Payne

November 2, 2023

Shay Daniels

From the classroom to the big stage in the world of acting, our alumni take their dreams and turn them into reality after graduation. Through countless sleepless nights, commitment, and perfecting a craft, nothing is impossible.

RaShayla Daniels, a December 2015 Journalism graduate from Longview, Texas, has made a notable name for herself with her studies. Rather than taking a familial route in print or broadcast with her degree, Daniels found herself making a career out of acting where she is still able to utilize learned skills within her role. Although she was unsure what she would do long-term after graduating, she had a few role models to look up to.

“I love to write— that includes stories, poetry and essays,” Daniels said. “I have a true passion for writing. In the beginning, I did not know what I wanted to do with this passion. I looked at the full list of things you could do with your career that you receive when you attend orientation and thought of the people who I already knew who were journalism majors— Oprah has such a versatile career now and started in journalism. She is also a great actor, which is where part of my inspiration came from.”

Once Daniels got her feet wet in CoMC, she was determined to pursue a career in entertainment law, world news, or sports reporting. As time went on, however, she began to have a change at heart.

Daniels said choosing her studies, while also in the most unconventional way, is what showed her the standard she wanted to create for her career.

“My understanding of journalism helped me decide what kind of storyteller I wanted to be,” Daniels said.


“Taking the route of acting was best for me since I did not have to fit anyone's narratives of what the correct [professional] should look like. From being told my hair would have to look a certain way to speaking in a defined manner and keeping personal opinions to myself, I appreciate the freedom I have as a creator and artist.”

Now being a successful actress in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Daniels is thankful for her major, where she began building the foundation of her profession. She has landed gigs for Meow Wolf Convergence Station (Denver) and numerous television shows and commercials. Daniels has also advertised what people wear in the Southwest for Walmart— and even acted in music videos for Solange's album, ‘A Seat at the Table.' 

Shay Daniels  Shay Daniels and Kylie Bunbury

“Journalism prepared me for meeting deadlines that I adhere to regularly in the industry,” Daniels said. “Being a writer has helped me with writing my own scripts, conveying emotion, and as a storyteller who wants to understand perspectives outside of my own. Journalism was great for me with this, especially since I frequently talk to all kinds of people and must remain objective. I am able to withhold judgment from characters I—or someone else— am assigned to play to avoid taking away from the work.”

The College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University provides unique Day One opportunities— and further establishes students who receive a degree from the college are not limited to one traditional career path. 

CoMC currently offers seven programs and majors including Journalism (JOUR), where faculty and staff present students with a cutting-edge training that successfully prepares them for various industries. Not only are students able to gain a rewarding skillset and experience in the College of Media & Communication, but veterans in the workforce are guaranteed professionals who are eager to excel in journalism's future.

One thing Daniels has never forgotten are the many students who are looking to find their way, much like she was. She encourages everyone to know of the list of opportunities they have when choosing what to do in life.

Shay Daniels Headshot

“Always follow your passions,” Daniels said. “Just because someone majors in journalism does not mean that they have to be a writer. There are so many things you can translate into— other things within our line of study, and in the College of Media & Communication in general. You should have an interest in what you do, outside of the fact that [a major] is something you have the potential to do for the rest of your life because these things could lead you elsewhere.”