Danielle Niles, Meteorologist, NECN

“Never let anyone (male or female) put you down or tell you that you can’t do something. Because you can, I am proof.”

An athlete all her life, Danielle Niles is no stranger to hard work or competition and has risen to the challenge of becoming the New England Cable News channel’s youngest and brightest meteorologist.

Bubbly, passionate, and motivated, she brings a fresh face and an uplifting spirit to a subject that can make or break viewers’ days with the mere mention of a strong gust or steady flow of rain drops. Her talent on screen is mirrored off screen as well, through her educational and athletic background. Attending UMASS Lowell from 2002 to 2006 on a soccer scholarship, Danielle excelled under the influence of her professors, coach and teammates alike. Her freshman year, however, she came in with a knee injury that needed follow-up surgery which caused her to be benched that entire first season. The injury pushed her to find her strength and to keep her goals in perspective, as well as teaching her qualities that would help her in every aspect of life whether in the present or in her very bright future.

Being a collegiate athlete has contributed a lot to my success,” said Danielle, “Discipline, hard work ethic, leadership skills, and teamwork are just a few qualities I have learned along the way.”

Much of her resiliency during this period she feels she owes to her coach Elie Montiero and her advisor Dr. Gamache. Each gave her critical opportunities as well as a support system to help her realize her potential. “[Dr. Gamache] has been the most influential professor in my college career and is a true role model,” said Danielle; “he is a true friend and someone I look up to with the utmost respect.”

Graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology, Danielle’s dreams were coming together as she looked ahead to her Masters of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University in 2008.

Not all professors proved to be as inspiring, however, as Danielle found out from a seemingly disgruntled one in the masters program. Upon hearing her intentions of applying to the New England Cable News he said that she “had potential” but because of the great amount of pressure in a top ten market she “probably wouldn’t last long.” “I thought, who is this guy to tell me what jobs I should or shouldn’t apply for,” said Danielle, recalling that stop-dead-in-your-tracks feeling this sentiment gave her. “To be honest, that just motivated me even more.”

Motivated appears to be an understatement as she not only landed the job but is causing others to take notice, from her lively broadcasts to her chic presentation. This strong belief in herself, she feels, is a direct result of her upbringing with extremely supportive parents by her side. “I don’t think I fully realized how lucky I was to be raised by such wonderful and supportive parents until now,” said Danielle. “They have shaped the person I am today.”

One of two daughters, she fondly remembers her childhood in Weymouth, MA where she was born. Her parents believed in the family dynamic and in raising strong and independent young women. “I don’t thank them enough for all of the hard work and sacrifice they put into making both my sister and I well-rounded, confident young women.” Such sacrifice, particularly on her mother’s part, has contributed to a field such as the media becoming a more even playing field between men and women. Today Danielle feels confident in her workplace, noting that there is no difference between how her and her male co-workers are treated. “I think that I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well, but there is an equal amount of pressure on men in this business too,” said Danielle. “I do not feel the need to bring more to the table than my male co-workers to keep up.”

As society continues to push forward, women are becoming celebrated more and more for their continued efforts and successes in all fields, and Danielle recognizes this specifically as having to do with math and science. “I do think that society as a whole has recognized the strides and contributions that women have made and continue to make in the math and science field.”

Regardless of such strides, this does not take away from her incredible climb to the top at such a young age in a field which many may argue is almost entirely image-conscious. To other women looking to embark on a journey into a competitive field, Danielle encourages them to work hard and above all be confident. “Never let anyone (male or female) put you down or tell you that you can’t do something. Because you can, I am proof.”