Interactive Mechanics

Fellowship Program

Learn About the Program Meet Our 2017 Fellows Read the FAQ

2018 Fellowship

The next round of Fellowship Applications will launch June 15, 2017

Our Speakers

Apply to be a 2018 roundtable speaker.

Apply Now

About the Program

The Interactive Mechanics Fellowship Program is a paid part-time, low-residency program that provides portfolio development, hard and soft skill building, and networking opportunities for entry and junior-level designers and/or developers.

This nine-month fellowship aims to build capacity for representation and inclusion in the technology field, and we see it as a mutual learning experience for the fellows and for our existing team. Designed to remove some of the common barriers to members of groups historically underrepresented in the tech field, key features include a small stipend for fellows’ time, a part time and remote schedule to allow for other commitments, and facilitated conversations on soft skills and workplace culture issues.

Fellows work September through May on a portfolio-building project relating to one of Interactive Mechanics’ areas of interest: higher education or arts and culture. This fellowship is focused on developing both hard and soft skills, providing hands-on technical guidance in addition to one-on-one mentorship and the opportunity to discuss current issues in the tech workspace. You’ll also build a network in the technology industry and enhance your portfolio.

With the support of their individual mentors, fellows will set clear goals and build projects that will develop their skills in design, front end development, and/or back end development. Our emphasis is on deep learning over time rather than quick, shiny demos, so goals do not necessarily need to connect to a comprehensive and complete project.

Mentorship Project

During orientation, your mentor will help you clarify your goals for the fellowship, and work with you to design a project tailored to your learning objectives. Your work on this project will be remote, with scheduled weekly mentor check-ins via phone or hangouts, as well as email and slack communication as needed.

Monthly Roundtables

You’ll meet with the other fellows and Interactive Mechanics staff once a month at our Old City office to share project updates and to participate in a roundtable discussion with an industry leader. You can check out past topics here.

Office Hour Coaching

In addition to your work with your mentor, you’ll have access to the full range of expertise of our team. Each staff member will offer regular office hours and a list of topics they’re prepared to discuss, from user experience to content strategy to networking tips.


The ideal candidate is interested in at least one of our areas of work (higher education or arts and culture) and has strong beginner or intermediate-level skills in front-end or back-end development, and/or digital design. Designers should have experience with Adobe Creative Suite or an equivalent like Sketch, and a basic understanding of the user experience process is also helpful. Front End Developers should have basic HTML, CSS & JavaScript skills. Back End Developers should have experience with databases and back-end programming languages, like PHP, Python, Node.js, Ruby, MySQL, MariaDB, or MongoDB.

Fellowship Timeline

July 16th
Applications due
Early Aug.
Interviews held
Mid Sept.
Fellows announced
Sept. 18th
Orientation & kickoff
Monthly Roundtables
May 21st
Project presentations
Late May
Project retrospectives

Ebonie Butler

Ebonie graduated with a degree in Information Technology from Drexel University and is currently working as a Test Engineer by day. But by night, she runs a music blog called Metal&Coffee and hosts a metal radio show on WKDU Philadelphia 91.7 FM. Ebonie did some coding academically but first knew that she wanted to become a front-end developer for sure when she took on the tasks of building her Metal&Coffee music blog on a Wordpress Framework and making it live. Ebonie looks forward to gaining all the necessary skills through the Interactive Mechanics Fellowship. Ebonie is re-designing and re-deploying the supporting website for weekly Philadelphia radio show Metal&Coffee, which features a lot of local and international metal music.

Madilynn Whittle

Madilynn grew up in South Jersey and recognized early her commitment to social justice through a technology-based lens. She is interested in graphic solutions, technology narratives across cultures, and putting the tools of technology into the hands of the people. She studies Computer Science and Information Systems at Stockton University in New Jersey. Madilynn puts her passion into practice by serving as an Bonner AmeriCorps Lead Tutor at Stanley Holmes Homework Completion Program, a public housing complex in Atlantic City. Maddy’s biggest goal is to make tech cool for young women of color, and help them to see themselves as programmers, designers, and developers. Madilynn is designing a "Choose your own adventure" interactive game based on Mae Jemison’s life.

Candace Worthen

Candace started her career with a degree in Journalism at Pennsylvania State University. One day, she started a blog and quickly realized some limitations in not knowing how to code. She enrolled and graduated from a web development program at Delaware County Community College. Candace is excited to be apart of the Interactive Mechanics fellowship and aspires to be a web developer, where she can code and build projects that reach people in an engaging way. In her free time, Candace volunteers with Girl Develop It, enjoys video and photography and meeting new people. Candace is building the Inventor Project, an interactive app that features inventors of color and their meaningful contributions to society.

What we expect from you

  • Complete your project based on goals set during orientation
  • Meet monthly as a team to participate in talks led by a curated roster of industry leaders (every 3rd Monday 6:00-7:30 pm)
  • Check in with your mentor weekly via phone/hangouts (30 minutes)
  • Participate in an opening orientation session and a demo day/closing reception
  • Write two blog posts over the course of the fellowship

Your total time will vary based on the amount of time you choose to spend on your project, but we expect that your time commitment (including meetings and checkins) will be between 20 and 40 hours a month. Most of your work time is designed to be flexible and remote, but we ask you to commit to the following dates to meet at our Old City office. All times are 6:00-7:30 pm, except where noted:

  • September 18, 2016 (orientation, 6-8 pm)
  • October 16, 2016
  • November 20, 2016
  • December 18, 2016
  • January 8, 2017 (2nd Monday, to account for MLK Day)
  • February 19, 2017
  • March 19, 2107
  • April 16, 2017
  • May 21, 2017 (project presentations, 6-8 pm)

Still have questions? Check out our FAQ page.

What you can expect from us

  • Curated monthly roundtable conversations
  • Opportunities for face-to-face networking with industry leaders
  • A supportive and welcoming environment in which to learn new things and improve your skills
  • Shared expertise through mentorship and office hour coaching
  • A monthly stipend of $100 ($900 total)
  • Reimbursement for expenses associated with visiting and exploring museum technology (up to $25/month)

2017-2018 Call for Speakers

We’re looking for industry leaders to speak on a range of non-technical topics. In addition to supporting future technology leaders, speakers receive a $100 stipend and dinner on us.

Apply Now

Our 2016-2017 Speakers

Juliana Reyes

Associate Editor,|@juliana_f_reyes
How to Join the Club: Jumping into the Philly Tech Scene

Sylvester Mobley

Executive Director, Coded by Kids
Why Mission Based Work Is Important for Technologists

Elise Wei

Chapter Leader, Girl Develop It, Philadelphia
Software Engineer, TicketLeap
The Value of 'I Don't Know': On Impostor Syndrome and a Culture of Learning

Kevin Curtis Taylor

Argyle Analytics
Why Are You Doing This? Aligning Your Mission with the Right Folks

Ather Sharif

Founder, EvoXLabs
Software Engineer, Comcast
Universal Design: How what you’re working on could benefit people with different abilities

Darla Wolfe

Managing Principal, SweatEquitE
Being Your Own Career Disruptor

Want to learn more?

Read the FAQ Contact Us