Altoona’s Kelly lands writing position with HuffPost

Altoona writer Erin Kelly is making her mark.

Her latest accomplishment: landing a writing gig with the Huffington Post, a popular online news and blog site, which won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2012.

The 28-year-old who was born with cerebral palsy in Seoul, Korea, will write for the online newspaper’s Impact section.

“I’ve worked for everything I have in my life, and for someone to not only recognize me for my work but give me an opportunity like this – simply based on the merit of what they’ve read – is surreal beyond belief,” Kelly wrote in an email. “I wake up every morning pinching myself.”

Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and communications and graduated from Penn State Altoona in 2009.

She began writing the column “The View From Here” for the Mirror about four years ago.

Kelly also writes for “The Good Men Project,” an online magazine; blogs for “The Mobility Resource;” and works as a freelance editor, including editing her former professor Ilse-Rose Warg’s memoir, “To Cope and To Prevail.”

Cameron Conaway, himself an Altoona native and the executive editor of the social justice section of “The Good Men Project,” went to college with Kelly and reached out to her to write for the website.

Kelly, whom he helped transition to online writing, has an incredible work ethic, he said.

“I mean she just has a fire and a willingness to learn that is unmatched,” he said.

Conaway, who also writes for the Huffington Post, brought Kelly’s work to the attention of his editor. It took them only three hours to determine Kelly was someone they wanted on the team, he said.

Kelly has a unique voice dynamic, and the Huffington Post “needed her more than she needed them I feel like. … I truly don’t know if there’s anybody in the country who can write the kind of story that she can write, so it’s a huge asset for them to have her.”

Her first article, “Reluctant Reliability: A Glimpse Into Cerebral Palsy,” ran Jan. 21 on the Huffington Post website.

“My stories for HuffPost will be news related, focusing on issues that those with disabilities face, often on a daily basis,” Kelly said. “A lot of these issues are not brought to the forefront of news, either because they’ve been kept in the dark by the people whose lives they affect, or because there’s simply not enough information known about a given topic to put a well-written story out there.

“My goal with HuffPost, as well as ‘The Good Men Project,’ is to do as much ‘digging’ as possible, find stories that are off the beaten path and be a voice for a demographic of people who have long had their’s stolen or drowned out for one reason or another.”

Her ambition isn’t satiated with her current accomplishments.

Kelly, whose personal goal is to get on “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” has placed signing with an agent at the top of her priorities for her writing career, she said.

“I have several books written that I’ve been looking to get published,” Kelly said. “That used to feel like such a distant, far-off dream, but it’s starting to feel closer and attainable.”

Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.