During this highly-selective, eight-week program, summer fellows work as a team, generating and implementing creative and thoughtful new policies to benefit the City of Boston. In addition, the fellows participate in a variety of professional development sessions so that they get a broad view of careers in City government. This summer fellowship is for the creative, curious, and entrepreneurial graduate student with a passion for public service.
Fellowship projects are as diverse as the fellows we have had. From urban planners, to public health students, to business and policy masters candidates to sociology PhDs, if you have an interest in making Boston a healthy, thriving, innovative 21st-century City, this could be the place for you.
The Summer Fellowship Program was created to attract the next generation of leaders to careers in public service. Several members of the current Urban Mechanics team were summer fellows, and alumni can be found in the Department of Innovation and Technology, the Department of Neighborhood Services, the Office of Budget Management, as well as throughout state government and at Boston-area universities.
During his 2015 State of the City address, Mayor Walsh launched Boston’s Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program as a “building-block of opportunity” that will 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 ground-breaking, evidence-based program. This fellow was asked to stay beyond her fellowship terms and is now the Project Manager for this initiative. By March 2016, five Boston Public Schools were announced as participants in the three-year pilot, that will commence in Fall 2016.
Mayor Marty Walsh wanted to activate the inside of City Hall to increase public engagement. A summer 2014 fellow convened relevant stakeholders to brainstorm ideas for how to enliven City Hall and provide an amenity to staff and visitors and proposed a coffee cart in the main lobby. After three operators, we learned that creating an attraction, in this case a coffee cart, in public spaces, made people more likely to use that space and provided evidence to invest in a permanent amenity.
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, and an ice skating rink and vendor stalls will premier on the plaza by the end of 2016. Rendering of the Winter Activations on City Hall Plaza, courtesy of Boston Garden Development Corporation.