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Online programs and virtual tours continue while CAC tours are currently suspended and the Center is closed, in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines from the State of Illinois.

The CAC’s Teen Fellows program—hosted in partnership with Harold Washington College and supported by the Turner Construction Company Foundation—is a unique opportunity for students to learn about architecture, construction, engineering and design.

This scholarship program gives incoming sophomores and juniors enrolled in a Chicago high school the chance to explore the design fields, earn college credit, and working alongside architecture and design professionals. They work on multiple design projects, showcases and public exhibitions, visit places of architectural significance and have an opportunity to complete their fellowship with a paid summer internship at a local architecture or design firm.

CAC TEEN Fellows Mission Statement

“The Chicago Architecture Center Teen Fellows 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.”


Over the course of the 15-month program, Teen Fellows work on studio projects, capstone projects and develop a portfolio. They also take tours, go on site visits and travel to places across the country to study architecture, visit universities and experience the effects of urban planning. Each semester, students earn a stipend and college credits through Harold Washington College. The fellows meet on Saturdays during the school year and weekdays throughout the summer. They are expected to attend every scheduled session, missing no more than three throughout the year. Fellows earn a stipend each semester of the program.

Below is the schedule for the 2020-21 program:

Summer 2020 — 6 to 8 weeks

  • NOTE: In response to COVID-19, some or all of Summer 2020 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.
  • Introduction to design and understanding the built environment
  • Community design build project with a partner
  • Gain college credit hours in architectural sketching
  • Meet during the week

Fall semester 2020 — 10 weeks

  • Introduction to architecture and design skills
  • Studio skills development
  • Gain college credit hours in design studio
  • Study trip
  • Meet on Saturdays

Spring semester 2021 — 10 weeks

  • Studio and technical skills development
  • Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition design challenge
  • Internship prep with CCC Career Center staff
  • Gain college credit hours in architecture design or digital lab
  • Meet on Saturdays

Summer 2021 — 6 to 8 weeks

  • Paid internship at a local firm
  • Portfolio development and program graduation in August
  • Meet during the week and occasional weekends for events


The Teen Fellows Program is a 15-month (two summers and one full school year) commitment open to incoming sophomores or juniors who attend high school in the city of Chicago.

The Chicago Architecture Center is committed to increasing access to students from populations historically under-represented in architecture, construction, and engineering and design professions, such as girls and minorities.

Application requirements

  • Complete application form
  • Thoughtful responses to 2-3 essay questions
  • Additional materials needed for Harold Washington College

Application PROCESS

Applications are now closed for the 2020-2021 Teen Fellows cohort. Applicants will be notified of their status mid-June. The program will begin in late June or early July, depending on school year calendars. Each class enrolls 16-20 students.

If you have any questions, please contact us via email at