Erika Niedowski was a journalist and an advocate in the renewable energy sector. She grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts and earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in History from Georgetown University. She also earned a Master’s of Public Policy (M.P.P.) from Tufts University in 2017.
Erika passed away after a very brief and unexpected illness on October 2, 2020 at the age of 46.
Erika was a reporter for The Baltimore Sun from 1998 to 2007 and was their Bureau Chief in Moscow, Russia, for three years. Erika earned a Pulitzer Prize finalist nomination in 2004 for Explanatory Writing for her article about Josie King titled “How Medical Errors Took a Little Girl’s Life.” She later joined the Associated Press in Providence, RI, where she covered the downfall of Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios firm, the Aaron Hernandez murder trial, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the Rhode Island Statehouse.
In 2014, Erika left the Associated Press to become the Director of Communications for RI Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee. Following completion of the Tufts Master’s program she joined Acadia Center as their Rhode Island Director and in 2019 transitioned to the Coalition for Community Solar Access as Northeast Regional Director.
Erika lived in Lincoln, RI with her partner Patrick, her dog Jaro and her cats, Red Bull, Grendel and Hazel. She was an avid cyclist and often trained to ride a century, a 100-mile event. Erika was a big hockey fan, especially rooting for the Boston Bruins and attending many of their games. She also played hockey in multiple local adult leagues. Erika was a board member and the Advancement chairperson for Girls Rock RI (now RIOT). This led to participation in an Undoing Racism workshop in Providence and advocacy for racial equity in both her professional and personal life. The workshop focused attention on the many injustices of racism, encouraging Erika to do whatever she could to help find a solution. This led to the creation of a college scholarship program for a Black Rhode Island student, which is how her work and her memory live on today.