Emma Bowen Foundation celebrates 30 years diversifying the media industry

A nonprofit organization that is working to change the face of media is celebrating 30 years. 

The Emma Bowen Foundation recruits students of color and places them in paid summer internships across the country, including right here at FOX 2. 

Our student, Brielle Ashford says she has learned a lot including writing and producing. "Which are some of my passions - I have some of the best mentors ever."  

We love mentoring Brielle, who is in her third summer as a paid intern for FOX 2 and doing everything from helping with The Nine to field producing. "FOX 2 is such a family and it's really amazing to a part of that and to learn that." 

Brielle was introduced to our FOX 2 family many years before she came to work here, when she met FOX 2 anchor Ron Savage. Ron passed away of a heart attack in 2017. Brielle met him when she was in elementary school when she was out with her Dad.

"He saw my little 11-year-old passion for the industry and he brought me into the station and let us tour and introduced us to a few people." 

Fast forward to today and Brielle is at FOX 2 as part of the Emma Bowen Foundation - named for the late community activist who passionately believed that media needed more representation. It's something that means a lot to Brielle. 

"I feel as a person of color you can sometimes feel like your perspective isn't shared or shown and I think it really speaks to the quality of FOX 2 and all other stations that participate in Emma Bowen, that they see the value in a diverse voice." 

Fox stations across the country have Emma Bowen fellows, and every year they all meet up at the Annual Foundation Conference in New York which took place recently.  

This year, the Foundation celebrates 30 years. For many of those years FOX 2 has been involved, mentoring Emma Bowen students since 2002. We keep in touch with our alums so we tracked them down to see how they're doing. 

Karla Hudson was our very first intern starting in 2002. 

"Today I'm press secretary on a presidential campaign. What Emma Bowen did for me was give me valuable work experience at FOX 2. I got an opportunity to do a wide range of things and I really felt prepared - once I graduated from college and got my first job as a reporter. The other thing that Emma Bowen did for me was give me the opportunity to have a mentor and I've learned that mentorship is definitely hard to find, so I'm just as appreciative for that aspect," she said. 

Akeem Anderson was FOX 2's second Emma Bowen student. Today is he works in Chicago as Digital Principal for Kivvit. He graduated from college in 2009. 

"Ten years later I can say with a great deal of confidence that it's been one of the most enriching experiences of my life to date. I came to the program as a bright eyed 17-year-old and I left there as a really seasoned professional, someone ready to come out of college and contribute at a personal and professional level in my field and that doesn't happen for me without the support of my mentors and the foundation as a whole," he said. 

And finally Erin Winters, who has started her own business, Erin On Demand. "I was FOX 2's Emma Bowen student from 2012 - 2016 and the program was absolutely incredible. Being a part of the Emma Bowen Foundation literally changed the trajectory of my life. Right now as a career I am an entrepreneur. I have my own digital marketing and video production company and really being a part of the program set the foundation that I needed to be where I'm at now," she said. 

Our current Emma Bowen Fellow, Brielle, will soon leave us for her senior year at Arizona State University in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. She says whatever is next, she'll take the lessons learned here with her. 

"It's so incredible to have people recognize what you're passionate about and help you foster that passion - people who can really pour into you and help you along the way and really just make a huge difference in your life." 

With Brielle soon to graduate, FOX 2 will be looking for a new Emma Bowen Foundation Scholar in the future! To learn more about the program and how to apply, go to www.emmabowenfoundation.com