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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. 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 college coursework in the morning and CAC programming in the afternoon
  • September – May: Fellows meet from 9-4 for 10 Saturdays per semester (with breaks aligned with school calendars), with college coursework in the morning and CAC programming 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 incoming sophomores or juniors who attend high school in the city of Chicago and are able to commit to a 15 month program. 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.


A completed application, including thoughtful responses to essay questions, is required for consideration. If a teen is accepted into the Fellows, additional application information is required for Harold Washington College.

Applicants will be notified of their status in mid-June. Each class enrolls 16-20 students.

Apply Now

HWC College Courses

  • Summer Semester, 2021: Architectural Sketching 110 (2 credits)
  • Fall Semester, 2021: Architectural Digital Lab 170 (3 credits)
  • Spring Semester, 2022: Architecture Digital Lab 171 (3 credits)


In response to COVID-19, some or all of Summer 2021 Teen Fellows programming may be facilitated in an online format. To remove barriers to participation, CAC will work to provide computers to youth who do not have one available at home.


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Teen Fellows is supported by the Turner Construction Company Foundation