Hometown: Sykesville, Maryland
High School: Century High School
College: Elon University
Other Journalism Experience: NBC29 News in Charlottesville, VA
Started at WISC-TV on: July 2012
Facebook: Dannika Lewis
What is your favorite part about living in Madison?
I'm a huge outdoors person, so all of the water and parks have me constantly busy in the best way possible.
What is the biggest news story that you've covered?
I was a part of the George Huguely trial coverage in Charlottesville. He is the UVA lacrosse player accused of killing his girlfriend. It brought a ton of national attention to the small town, and it was a very exciting case to be reporting from.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I'll try pretty much anything once! You can find me dancing and singing one minute, kayaking and skiing the next, and watching a movie with friends or chilling out at a new restaurant the next. I love everything outside.
What is your family life like? Significant other, married, kids?
My family is all in Maryland, so I miss them a lot. I'm very close with my mom, dad, sister, and massive German Shepherd, so it makes for a lot of phone calls and Skype.
What is your favorite kind of ice cream?
Depends on my mood, but chocolate fudge brownie is always a winner.
What is the funniest thing that's ever happened to you?
My sister and I went to Orlando for her spring break. Picture two goofy grown women running around Disney World and Sea World, riding rides and seeing all of the characters. We were even on a singing competition show together and we were obviously each other's biggest fan. It was essentially a week filled with laughs.
What is your favorite place to vacation?
My family and I used to join a huge group camping up in Ontario. It was in the middle of nowhere with no running water or electricity, but it was the most fun I ever had as a kid. Nothing but fishing, boating, swimming, playing cards, hanging out by the campfire... it was great!
Who is your hero and why?
I'd have to say my grandmother. She had the most contagious smile that never left her face, even when there was every reason for her to give up. I have an angel guiding me through all of my challenges, and I'm so grateful for that.
What was your favorite band when you were in high school?
I had the most eclectic mix of music in high school. My first nickname ever was "the Jukebox" because I could memorize pop lyrics on the fly. I'd have to say Alicia Keys is up there. Her concerts were absolutely amazing!
What is your favorite sport to play or watch?
Basketball, hands down. I always tell people that my dream job would be to be a NCAA DI men's basketball coach. I wasn't ever good at the game because of my lack of speed and height, but I love it!
If you could possess one superhuman power, what would it be?
I think being able to fly would be amazing.
What are you really bad at that you'd love to be great at?
I've always wanted to know how to play an instrument, either guitar or piano. I sang all of my life, but that was one thing I always wished I could pick up. Maybe some day!
What is your most memorable travel experience?
I studied abroad in Madrid for a semester in college. I lived with a host family, got pretty good at Spanish, and traveled everywhere. It was an unforgettable experience, and I hope to return someday.
What is the worst job you have ever had?
I was blessed with a lot of great summer camp counselor positions and waitressing jobs that I actually really enjoyed! Working double shifts as a server was super tiring, and sometimes I didn’t come home with too much cash. I can't say, though, that I had an awful experience anywhere (knock on wood).
Who would you most like to interview alive or dead, and why?
Jackie Robinson. I did an entire project on him in college and got to talk to his mother over the phone and one of his teammates on-camera. What an amazing interview that would be!
What is your favorite tradition around the holidays?
Just all of Christmas, really. We used to not really have set traditions until my sister insisted on a certain type of cinnamon bun in the morning. We always go downstairs into the basement and open stockings first. Then comes coffee followed by the presents under the tree. Honestly, it's just great to be with my entire family that day, and gifts and cinnamon buns don't hurt!
What is your favorite song of all time?
Jimmy Buffett's "Cheeseburger In Paradise". Not a musical masterpiece, but my parents are huge parrotheads. It was probably one of the first songs I knew.
What is your favorite movie of all time?
Remember The Titans is up there with Blind Side. Forest Gump is great too.
What is your favorite book of all time?
A Thousand Splendid Suns. If you haven't read it, go do it now.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
I found a quote one day that goes like this: "What I strive for everyday is authenticity. I take inventory every night and I have never lived a perfect day so I learn to forgive myself over and over because real is better than perfect." That's pretty much my life motto.
If you could relive any moment...what would that be?
My dad and I hiked into the Grand Canyon and back out of it. That was such a cool accomplishment, and what a landscape! We also rode four-wheelers in "red rock country". We were able to see things no one else could have seen in Sedona, and I'm not sure if I've ever felt so free. It was incredible.
Where were you when September 11, 2001 occurred?
I remember heading to the middle school cafeteria and seeing my basketball coach rush into the school. I asked why he was there, and he said he was picking up his daughter because there was a terrorist attack. I didn't even know what that meant. We all went home early and when I started watching it on TV, it was more surreal than anything else. I didn’t really understand, to be honest. Everything that was unfolding was so far beyond my scope of comprehension. Thankfully, I didn't know anyone in New York or D.C. at the time.