Sketch Model: Arts + Action Summer Fellowship Program


The Arts + Action Fellowship program places undergraduate engineering students as summer interns in arts organizations or non-profits dedicated to the humanities, especially equity-minded ones and those that partner with underserved communities.

As part of the larger Sketch Model effort, we intend these experiences and their resulting narratives to inspire alternate paths in the imagination of Olin students, whose summer experiences tend toward the pre-professional or technical. We also intend these experiences and stories as public-facing narratives, posing new possibilities for young engineers-in-training beyond Olin.

The program is called “Arts + Action”—a shorthand name to signify a broad range of possibilities. Students may seek placements not only with organizations in the fine arts, but also with organizations whose work is in the humanities, such as public history, religious life in civic matters, and more. The “action” part is meant to signify a broad sense of engagement with multiple publics. We want to place students in sites where there’s an active conversation about how the arts and humanities bolster our common and cultural lives—again, especially when that work is in partnership with historically marginalized communities.

What’s in it for students? Summer breaks between semesters are the perfect opportunity for exploration, not just transactional skill-building. Think of this fellowship as a chance to swerve outside of your major and have an experience that will give you some deep immersion into disciplinary expertise and professional practices far outside of STEM fields. You may operate in your host organization as someone with engineering know-how that benefits the group, if it’s desired. But the real chance here is to witness what life and work is like for people in the arts and humanities domains. What are their opportunities and challenges? How did they construct their pathways? Where and when does engineering play a role in bringing these domains to life? You’ll be able to ask yourself if there are professional routes for engineers and engineering that you’d never imagined.

What’s in it for organizations? Are you interested in adding a summer intern from engineering fields to your team? We’re offering a fully-funded stipend for four engineering students to be placed in arts and humanities organizations in various kinds of possible roles: for technical work,  non-technical work, or both, depending on the mutual interests and affinities between the individual and host. All Olin students do hands-on, team-based work in multiple engineering domains from their first days at Olin, and all are selected for our community by demonstrating a collaborative, open-minded disposition in addition to their STEM training. We’ll work with you to suggest student matches, depending on your needs; the final decision is yours to make in concert with the student herself. We’re looking for organizations where the technical work isn’t running by itself in a silo. Instead, we want to see students who can observe and experience the far broader connections among the arts and technology.

If you're interested, send us a couple of paragraphs about 1) the project you have in mind, 2) the communities who partner with and benefit from your work, and 3) the dispositions and skillsets you're looking for in a student intern. If there are students who are interested in your program and meet our application requirements and standards, we'll give you the green light to contact them for an interview, as you like. The final decision is up to you and the student; we do the initial vetting and matchmaking, and we monitor the process.

If you have questions, reach out to us at


Each winter Olin students can apply to be selected for a summer internship with a socially-minded arts and humanities non-profit, fully supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Selected students work collaboratively with the program to make the case for their placement, either at a particular site of their interest or one of many sites curated by the program. Arts and humanities organizations may reach out to the program for consideration for placements. A selected student is awarded a fellowship if a mutually agreeable arrangement is reached between the student and an organization that meets the spirit and requirements of the program.

Students will create at least three reflective forms of narrative media to document and share observations and ideas about the role of the engineer in an arts and humanities context. These reflections will present entry points toward more formally documented narratives to be shared with the broader community.

STUDENTS: Sign up below to get updates on the program as it rolls out. 

Program eligibility, benefits, and requirements are detailed in the Arts + Action Fellowship Guidelines.

Interested students and arts and humanities organizations with questions can get in touch at




Banner photo credit: Dick Thomas Johnson