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The Chicago Architecture Center’s (CAC) Teen Fellows program—hosted in partnership with Harold Washington College and supported by the Turner Construction Company Foundation—provides youth from the city of Chicago with a unique opportunity to explore

Mission Statement

The mission of the Teen Fellows, developed by participating youth, is to explore the past, experience the present and design the future. As a dedicated community of hands-on learners, Fellows question and identify how the built environment applies to their lives.

This 15-month program is offered at no cost to selected participants, and gives incoming sophomores and juniors enrolled in Chicago high schools the chance to explore architecture and design careers, earn college credit and work alongside industry professionals. During the program, Fellows:

  • Attend college courses at Harold Washington College, earning dual credits with CPS and City Colleges of Chicago
  • Explore Chicago’s built environment and how it changes over time
  • Develop design projects focused on local challenges and begin building personal portfolios
  • Visit current building projects and architecturally significant sites
  • Earn a stipend through CAC’s partnership with After School Matters (ASM)
  • Have the opportunity to participate in a paid summer internship at a local architecture or design firm

Program Schedule

  • March: Applications open via the CAC website. Applications open via ASM in April
  • June: Fellows selected and notified
  • July-August (Summer # 1): Fellows meet Monday-Thursday for 6-8 weeks, with CAC programming in the morning and college coursework in the afternoon
  • September – May: Fellows meet from 9-4 for 10 Saturdays per semester (with breaks aligned with school calendars), with with CAC programming in the morning and college coursework in the afternoon
  • July-August (Summer #2) – Fellows are eligible for placement in a paid internship or additional HWC coursework

Participation Expectations

Fellows are expected to attend every scheduled session, missing no more than three throughout the first year. They must complete all college course work from HWC—grades will be reflected on official college transcripts. Fellows earn a stipend each semester of the program based on attendance, participation and communication.


Teen Fellows is open to incoming sophomores and juniors who attend high school in the city of Chicago and are able to commit to a 15-month program. The CAC is committed to increasing access to students from populations historically under-represented in architecture, construction and engineering and design, including BIPOC youth and those who identify as female.


Applications are now closed for the summer 2022 program. Please email for information about future fellowship programs.

HWC College Courses

  • Summer Semester, 2022: Architectural Digital Lab 170 (3 credits)
  • Fall Semester, 2021: Architectural Digital Lab 171 (3 credits)
  • Spring Semester, 2022: Architecture Digital Lab 172 (3 credits)


In response to COVID-19, programming will be hybrid, with classes taking place both in-person and online. To remove barriers to participation, the CAC and Harold Washington will work to provide computers to all youth participants.


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Teen Fellows is supported by the Turner Construction Company Foundation