Annually, The Pen and Pencil Club, the oldest operating press club in America, hosts the Philadelphia Press Awards which recognizes Philadelphia's most talented journalists. Syreeta Martin, KLN '12, was nominated and won the 2017 Freelance Reporter of the Year Award.
"I wasn't seeking recognition, but I appreciate what this says about the value that others see in my work, my voice and the way that I capture the journeys of others," said Martin.
A native of Pittsburgh, she entered Temple University, already a parent, having graduated from high school a year early.
"I've never been one to take the traditional path," she said.
After graduation, she joined the AmeriCorps (VISTA) and began working at United Way of Greater Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSJ). While working at UWGPSJ, she freelanced for EBONY.com.
As a journalism major, Martin was always a writer at heart, yet the job market looked daunting for her passion.
"All our professors kept telling us was, 'print is dying' which sucked because I was already knee-deep in debt trying to get the degree," she said. "It worked out though because they also taught us how to prepare for the change by making us start a blog to ensure we had a digital footprint."
Her blog, SincerelySyreeta.com, was created in 2010. Soon after, Martin launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $1,800 to revamp the website. She exceeded her goal by a little over $400 in just 24 hours.
"I wanted to offer something to the world—something meaningful. Something that was bigger than myself and my life," Martin said. "The Sincerely Syreeta blog was created to give readers a renewed sense of strength, direction, and purpose."
Currently, she freelances for PhillyVoice.com and WeZift.com, a company providing digital parenting tools and resources for families on the web, as well as authoring lifestyle, parenting and thought pieces. She has also been featured on Good Day FOX29, after penning an article for PhillyVoice.com on how to have an appropriate conservation about dating and relationships with younger children.
Martin works in media and communications as a media specialist for the Community College of Philadelphia, and when not writing serves as a certified accountability coach in youth development. She conducts empowerment classes at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School for young women ages 18 through 21.