Interactive Mechanics

Fellowship Program

Learn About the Program Read the FAQ

Class of 2018 Fellowship

Meet our next class of Fellows!

Learn about the Fellows

Our Speakers

See our Class of 2018 roundtable speaker lineup

Meet the Speaker Lineup

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 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, museums, 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 and education plan tailored to your learning objectives. Your work on this project will be remote, with scheduled weekly mentor checkins via phone, Slack, or Hangouts.

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. You can schedule in-person or remote time to chat about anything from user experience to content strategy to networking.


The ideal candidate is interested in at least one of our areas of work (higher education, museums, or arts and culture) and has strong beginner or intermediate-level skills in front-end, back-end development, and/or digital design. Applicants interested in design should have basic experience with Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, and/or user experience methodologies (like persona development and user testing). Applicants interested in development should have basic experience with some (but not necessarily all) of the following technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL/MariaDB, NoSQL databases, Python, Node.js, or Ruby.

Fellowship Timeline

July 9
Applications due
Late July
Early Aug.
Fellows announced
Sept. 18
Orientation & Kickoff
Monthly Roundtables
May 21
Project Night
Late May
Fellowship retrospectives

Class of 2018 Fellows

Lori Imbesi

Lori is bringing creativity and art to the forefront of her work. Passion for social justice, the environment, and raising a peaceful generation have always been her underlying themes while earning a Master in Art and Art Education degree and during subsequent years as a classroom teacher. Ready for a career change and opening to new experiences, a connection in a beginner Argentine Tango class told her about the nonprofit organization, Girl Develop It. So Lori stepped from Tango to tech! She started taking classes - as many as she could - and realized there are a lot of opportunities for creatives who want to build and design for good causes. Lori is very excited to delve into her Fellowship work with Interactive Mechanics. She wants to learn as much as she can about user experience and design, and, employing and refining digital projects to serve people and the planet.

Lori will be enhancing the Transition Town Media website from a UX perspective. Transition Town Media is a hub for individuals who seek to build community independence by localizing food, transport, economy, education, waste removal, and energy. She’ll utilize Google Analytics, surveys, interviews, research with TTM’s local university and cultural partners, and user testing to guide her redesign. She’s looking forward to learning how to create wireframes, create an infographic, and learning Sketch. Through the fellowship she wants to become more confident in presenting her findings to stakeholders.

Madi Pignetti

Madi graduated from Harvey Mudd College with a degree in Computer Science. During college, she began to notice many flaws in the technical industry, most notably the lack of representation of people of color, women, and queer people. By focusing on the intersections of art and technology, she hopes to bridge understanding between these two worlds and highlight the complex systematic struggles of underrepresented groups in STEM, and more broadly, in society.

Madi plans to create a web app for survivors and friends of survivors of sexual assault. The app will help users with resources on what to do and how to offer support after assault occurs. There will also be resources for perpetrators of sexual assault to help them seek rehabilitation. Her objective following research from RAINN, WOAR, and other sources, is to learn how to structure sensitive content in an accessible way for an application. Madi will conduct user testing and solicit feedback from campus sexual assault centers. She wants to use Adobe Illustrator InVision. Madi hopes to leave this fellowship feeling more comfortable networking with her tech peers.

Ellen Duong

Ellen is currently studying Digital Media Design, Computer Graphics, and Game Technologies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is interested in developing visual effects and virtual reality applications. At Penn she teaches workshops on Processing, a introductory programming language to create artwork. She has a passion for the performing arts and has consequently done stage design and tech for student groups at Penn. Ellen aspires to combine both her skills in programming and her passion in the performing arts to create cool things. She looks forward working on a new project this year for her Interactive Mechanics Fellowship.

Ellen will create an art and music project. This animated web page will allow users to play an interactive instrument with their device. She will research audio processing and visualization tools as well as grow her understanding of procedural animation. Ellen looks forward to creating a polished project with a smooth user experience, since she’ll have more time than her typical semester-long work at University of Pennsylvania.

Rana Fayez

Rana built a career in media for years. In a way, working with content was her entry point back into tech, or maybe it was building her first simple website as a 12-year-old for her gaming clan. Either way, Rana believes in the potential of tech to empower people, that’s why she sometimes serves as a teaching assistant at Girl Develop It. She holds a Bachelors degree in journalism from Virginia Tech and a Masters in Organizational Communication from University at Albany. She is also a graduate of the Philadelphia Citizens Planning Institute.

Rana plans to build a website from scratch for the first time. The website will serve as the hub for her non-profit and music festival YallaPunk, which celebrates music, art, film and other cultural artifacts created by Middle Eastern and North African individuals. She’s excited to build in a language she can edit, experiment with interactive maps, and incorporate e-commerce functionality. This fellowship will be her introduction into re-branding herself as a web developer after a career as a journalist for many years.

Class of 2018 Mentor


Read my Mentor Profile

Class of 2018 Mentor


Read my Mentor Profile

Class of 2018 Mentor


Read my Mentor Profile

Class of 2018 Mentor


Read my Mentor Profile

Class of 2018 Speakers

Jen Dionisio, EPAM Systems
Doing Tech Outside of Tech

Stephanie Lin, Elsevier
Card Sort All the Things! How to Make Decisions that are more Aligned with your Values

Sylvester Mobley, Coded by Kids
Why Mission Based Work Is Important for Technologists

Upma Singh, Digitas Health
Relationships Matter: Building a Network

Darla Wolfe, SweatEquitE
Being Your Own Career Disruptor

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
  • Check in with your mentor weekly via phone, slack, or hangouts
  • Participate in an Orientation and a Project Night
  • Write one blog post 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 6:00-8:00pm:

  • September 18, 2017
  • October 16, 2017
  • November 20, 2017
  • December 18, 2017
  • January 8, 2018 (2nd Monday, to account for MLK Day)
  • February 19, 2018
  • March 19, 2018
  • April 16, 2018
  • May 21, 2018

Still have questions? Ask us on 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)

Want to learn more?

Read the FAQ