New Urban Mechanics summer fellowship
Our summer fellowship is a highly selective program. Fellows work as a team, creating and putting in place thoughtful new prototypes, policies, or programs to benefit Boston. Fellows also take part in professional development opportunities to get a broad view of careers in City government.
The 2022 summer fellowship application is now closed. We'll begin taking applications for the 2023 fellowship in early December.
About the fellowship
Fellowship projects are as diverse as the fellows we have had. We’ve worked with traffic engineers, public health students, business and policy masters candidates, and sociology PhDs. If you have an interest in making Boston a healthy, thriving, innovative 21st-century City, this could be the place for you.
We created the Summer Fellowship Program to attract the next generation of leaders to careers in public service. Several members of the current Urban Mechanics team started as fellows. Our alumni can also be found in:
Common questionsCommon questions
While you are going through our application process, we are going through a project scoping process with internal partner departments. We work to match each fellow with a project that will make use of their skillsets while providing an opportunity to stretch and grow. We want to give you projects that are both interesting and challenging. We announce fellow and project matches during the first day of onboarding. We have explored having fellows pitch us a project in the past, and it is typically quite difficult to fit in a self-generated project alongside your assignment. Appropriately scoping an eight- (or nine-) week project is no small task! We're open to a conversation about a project you'd want to pitch to the City, and also want to be honest with you about the likelihood of success.
If you’re selected, we’ll share overview materials about the City in the lead-up to your start date. We've explored sharing brief project details with you in advance of your start date, but we also know that context matters and it can be hard to navigate a "welcome kit" of project information on your own. We will likely experiment with additional tweaks to the pre-Orientation communications this year, as we have in the past.
Successful fellows have come from a wide variety of backgrounds, drawing on diverse and creative skillsets. We’ve worked with teachers and architects, public health students and public policy masters candidates, economics undergrads, and sociology PhDs.
If you have an interest in making Boston a healthy, thriving, innovative, 21st-century City, this fellowship could be for you.
We organize informal Chief Chats for our fellows. You can ask questions to — and learn from — various Cabinet Chiefs around the administration. We encourage fellows to have coffee chats with our staff, as well as other City Hall staff. We want you to learn about what it’s like to work in City Hall full-time, as well as learn about other efforts happening at the City.
We also organize a number of site visits for fellows to see City work in action. Reach out to a one of our staff members if you have a specific area or skillset you’d like to grow during the summer.
MONUM staff are available to you as a resource — maybe even as mentors — and fellowship alumni have shared with us that a large part of their professional growth during the fellowship came from simply rolling up their sleeves and doing the work alongside MONUM staff, internal partners, and external champions.
Generally, you’ll be expected "at work" (virtually, unless we hear otherwise) from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may sometimes need to attend morning or evening meetings for your project work.
Also, you may just want to attend morning or evening meetings that are interesting to you, albeit unrelated to your work. This is optional, but you are certainly welcome to do so.
Some Past ProjectsSome Past Projects
During his 2015 State of the City address, Mayor Walsh launched Boston’s Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program. This “building-block of opportunity” aims to help close the opportunity gap for Boston’s children. That summer, a fellow took on the challenge of helping the Office of Workforce Development create and launch this program. Five Boston Public Schools are now participants in the three-year pilot program.
Mayor Walsh wanted to use the inside of City Hall to increase public engagement. A summer 2014 fellow worked with stakeholders to brainstorm ideas for how to enliven City Hall. The goal was to provide an amenity to both staff and visitors. We learned that creating an attraction in public spaces — in this case, a coffee cart — made people more likely to use that space. The success of the temporary cart also provided evidence to invest in a permanent one.
Redesigned City Hall Plaza
In 2015, a summer fellow led the process to find a third-party operator to reimagine Boston’s City Hall Plaza. The summer project included leading stakeholder meetings and drafting a Request for Proposal, which was released in Fall 2015. A partner was announced in 2016. An ice skating rink and vendor stalls were placed on the plaza by the end of 2016.