"I write songs and I love to sing," said Keenya McDaniel, who hails from the small Central Valley town of Selma, where she excelled in high school and sang in the choir at the First Friendship Baptist Church. At SF State she became a star athlete and Honor Roll student. She studied to earn a degree in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, and wants to become a music producer and eventually run her own record label.
The middle of seven children in a close-knit family that struggled financially, Keenya studied on an athletic scholarship. Even though it paid for only part of her tuition, Keenya said, "with school getting more and more expensive, every little bit counts." She was grateful that she could focus fulltime on her studies and her athletic work, which she considered her job.
"I did track and field because it taught me a lot of skills I need in life: discipline, hard work and focus." Keenya has those qualities in abundance, said the coach of women's track and field. "She was extremely focused and highly determined." Anything is possible, she said, "I have really big dreams."