Three talented mid-career editors have been selected as the third class of recipients of the Richard S. Holden Diversity Fellowship, a collaboration of ACES: The Society for Editing and the Dow Jones News Fund. This year's fellows are: Ambreia Meadows-Fernandez, Eryka Parker, and CaTyra Polland.
Ambreia Meadows-Fernandez of Cheyenne, Wyoming. As a health and parenting writer for publications and brands, she has focused her work and activism on the history of medical discrimination, highlighting the maternal morbidity crisis and Black women’s reproductive experience. She is also associate editor of the digital community Kindred, which provides resources for Black families to raise thriving children.
Ambreia won a Salute to Excellence Award in 2018 from the National Association of Black Journalists. She hopes to use her fellowship to highlight stories of Black people across their reproductive life spans and empower Black writers to tell their stories.
Eryka Parker of Cleveland, Ohio. As owner and operator of a literary agency, she offers affordable editing services for aspiring authors and serves as a writing coach, book coach, and consultant to independent publishing companies. She has ghostwritten or co-written almost a dozen books to help visually impaired, juvenile, and disadvantaged BIPOC writers become published authors.
Eryka has also partnered with libraries to provide free community writing events. Eryka was nominated and honored by Who’s Who in Black Cleveland for her community work with aspiring authors. She hopes to use her fellowship to gain access to industry tools and help her build critical relationships with literary agents and industry pros who can open doors for minority writers.
CaTyra Polland of Rochester, New York. An independent author and freelance manuscript editor, copywriter, and professional speaker, she also launched a podcast that highlights editing and writing topics, created a writer forum, and founded a scholarship for urban high school students to pursue education related to writing. In addition, she is a Bilingual Jr. Speechwriter with the City of Rochester.
CaTyra seeks to use her fellowship to work toward guaranteeing that Black authors’ stories have dignity, pride, truth, and respect and that those authors have access to professionals committed to fair and accessible services and treatment.
“These three talented editors have demonstrated through their work a commitment to amplifying underrepresented voices, telling untold stories and serving diverse audiences,” said Lisa McLendon, president of the ACES Education Fund. “We are excited to help them expand their skills and continue sharing their knowledge with others.”
Each of the winners will receive up to $3,000 to apply to course tuition, conference fees, travel, or other costs related to their continuing career development and skill building.
The ACES Education Fund, in partnership with the Dow Jones News Fund, announced the Holden Fellowship as a pilot program in summer 2020. The objective is to promote diversity and inclusion by advancing early- and mid-career professionals in their work as editors and aspiring industry leaders. The fellowship recognizes the work of the late Richard S. Holden, who championed diversity in the ranks of editors as the longtime managing director for the Dow Jones News Fund.
This year’s judges were Paula Fuchsberg, an editor at Vanguard and a member of the Education Fund board, along with two graduates of the Dow Jones News Fund’s summer editing internship program: Lindsey O’Donnell-Welch, executive editor at the security news site Decipher, and Edgar Ramirez, social media producer for the Washington Post’s Opinions section.
Major funding for the Holden Diversity Fellowship has been provided by the ACES Education Fund, the Dow Jones News Fund, the Scripps Howard Foundation, and individuals who seek to perpetuate the ideals of Rich Holden.
ACES will award another round of Holden Fellowships in 2023 and will open the application process in spring 2023.