Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need to propose a project as part of my application?

We want to see that you have an interest in one of the areas in which we work (higher education or arts and culture), but we’re not looking for experts, so we’re not evaluating project proposals as part of applications. We’ll talk more about projects during the interview process, when we’ll ask you to come in with an idea of what you want to work on. If you’re selected, we’ll work with you during orientation to refine your project and set some clear goals and next steps.

What kinds of projects do you expect fellows will complete?

The most important things are that your project is appropriate for your skill level and is aligned with one of our areas of interest (higher education or arts and culture). Your mentor will work with you to make sure your project aligns with your learning objectives and that it has a clear deliverable that can realistically achieved within the fellowship timeline. Your project will NOT be connected to any of our client work.

We’ve thought of some sample projects to help give you a picture of what we’re envisioning, but we’re looking forward to hearing your original ideas during the interview process:

  • A collection of style guides suitable for museums that serve visually-impaired and low-vision users
  • An interactive map of statues on a university campus
  • An online gallery of artful graffiti in Philadelphia
  • An in-gallery interactive that helps visitors understand the research materials at a local archive

What kinds of hard skills can I expect to learn? What tools does Interactive Mechanics usually work with?

Our work includes user testing and research, website design and development, touch-based interactives on iPads and larger touchscreens, motion-based interactives using Microsoft Kinect, and native and web apps. Here are just some of the tools and languages we work with:

  • Adobe CS
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Angular
  • Chrome Developer Tools
  • Command line
  • CSS
  • Drupal
  • Git & GitHub
  • Grunt
  • HTML
  • HTML Canvas
  • Jekyll
  • JavaScript
  • jQuery
  • JSON & Ajax
  • Mapbox & Leaflet
  • Microsoft Kinect
  • MySQL, SQLite
  • Omeka
  • PHP
  • Processing
  • Sass
  • Twitter Bootstrap
  • WordPress

To learn more about our work, check out some of our featured projects and clients on our website here.

What is the time commitment? Will I be able to participate remotely?

We’ve geared this fellowship towards individuals who have other full-time commitments, so the bulk of it is designed to be done remotely. You will need to join us in person for our monthly 90-minute roundtables on Monday evenings, and to check in via phone or hangouts with your mentor at weekly scheduled times. You should expect to spend 20-40 hours a month on all fellowship activities. See Expectations for more details.

What do you mean by mentorship and coaching? Are there courses?

We’ll assign each fellow a mentor at orientation, where you’ll work together to clarify your individual goals for the fellowship. Your mentor will help you determine a project plan that helps you meet those goals, and check in with you weekly to make sure you’re on track and to provide ongoing guidance. We’re here to support you, and to point you in the right direction, but we don’t offer standard classes or tutoring per se. If that’s what you’re looking for, we recommend Girl Develop It, The ITEM, or the Web Design Program at the University of the Arts.

What’s this about building capacity for representation and inclusion in the technology field? Do I qualify?

We love working in tech*, but we know from personal experience and from lots of research that there are some limitations in the field that can make it feel less welcoming to certain kinds of people, including people of color, women, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+, and veterans. We also know that diversity is a competitive advantage.

Anyone is welcome to apply, and we designed this fellowship specifically 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. If you think we’ve missed something, please bring it to our attention by emailing amelia@interactivemechanics.com. Nothing’s perfect, but we want to make sure we’re headed in the right direction.

*We also know that these are issues for the fields we work with, like museums and archives.

Where else can I learn about the Fellowship Program?

Read what our 2017 Fellows have written on our blog here and here. We’ve also written about how we researched the program and how it has influenced our hiring practices on Technically Philly.

I have a question that’s not listed here. Who can I contact?

Feel free to email amelia@interactivemechanics.com about anything we haven’t addressed here!