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 2023 summer fellowship application is now open:
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 agree Boston is a place where people can do good and change the world, this could be the fellowship 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:
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 about a week in advance of the start of the fellowship.
If you’re selected, we’ll share overview materials about the City and your project in the lead-up to your start date. We don't want you to dive into doing research in advance, not only because that would be unpaid work, but also because we know how important sharing context is. We commit to doing that during Orientation and your first week.
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 helping Boston achieve our goals of being a family-friendly city; the most Green New Deal city; being a safe and healthy city; having delightfully convenient constituent services; and closing the racial wealth gap — this might be the fellowship for you!
We organize 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 aim to organize a number of site visits for fellows to see City work in action. We also create the environment for fellows to organize skill-shares with other fellows and MONUM staff.
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" from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may sometimes need to attend morning or evening meetings for your project work. There is not currently a policy framework to allow MONUM summer fellows to work remotely during the summer. If there are any changes to that policy in advance of this summer, we will note that here.
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.