My Fellow Fellows

Melissa DePina is a 2022 Youth Civic Design Fellow with the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics Civic Design Cohort. This cohort explores city government and the practice of civic design while supporting ongoing MONUM projects. This year they also developed ideas for making more welcoming spaces in Boston City Hall and its surrounding Plaza.

Among the many skills and information I have learned during my time here, and trust me I’ve learned a lot, the most important takeaway from my experience is this: it’s ok not to know all the answers, as long as we keep trying to find them. In this job, a place where we are tasked with innovating government interaction with Bostonians and solving shared issues, we come in not knowing how to solve a specific problem, but we trust that along the way, through research, brainstorming, asking questions, overcoming obstacles, relying on your fellows, and ultimately trial and error, we’ll end up finding an answer. And once we do, a realization arises that we found the answer through everyday risk taking and and through the support of your fellow fellows.

Oftentimes, we forget that what often makes or breaks a work experience are the people you work with. Luckily, I can say that the people at MONUM and more specifically the youth cohort, are some of the most amazing people I have had the pleasure of working around. The youth cohort I spent my time with, was made up of some of the most wonderful people. Our group leader and summer fellow, Ava Nordling is the epitome of a helping hand. Often gracing a cool outfit and equally creative eye makeup, she never fails to answer a question, offer accommodation and advice, and even anticipate potential needs of the group. Ellis Seul, my youth fellow colleague, although soft-spoken, often surprised me with their thoughtful insights and impressive skills. Shoutout to a fellow linguist enthusiast. Sara Lopez, also a youth fellow, is an experienced yet humble individual who I have all the faith in when it comes to the college process. I hope you stop to take stock of all the note-worthy projects you’ve undertaken in your academic and professional careers thus far. And Sabrina Dorsainvil, our sharply dressed fearless director who works and advocates for us so much behind the scenes: I don’t know how you do it all but it has made all the difference. My fellow fellows have honestly made my time at MONUM. This has been one of the most enjoyable and meaningful experiences I’ve undertaken, thanks to you.

Melissa DePina (she/her/hers) is a soon-to-be college student at Brandeis University. She is a current high school graduate with an interest in majoring in psychology for her tertiary education. As a bit of a jack of all trades, she is set on exploring all of her interests! While academically astounding and an avid alliteration admirer, she also spends her free time exploring her many creative hobbies such as embroidery, reading, and writing. Often noted for her cheery attitude and strong work ethic, Melissa aims to lighten up those around her with a laugh while also working hard to get things done.

About the Fellowship:
The New Urban Mechanics Youth Civic Design Fellowship is designed for youth interested in working at the intersection of design and public service. We are prototyping ways to honor the reflections and contributions of youth in civic design work, foster curiosity about government, and encourage imagination. In addition to working on their own projects the youth civic design fellows connect with city staff based on their interest and reflect on the work being done by our team through their perspective. This year’s fellowship was made possible through the Youth Engagement and Employment SuccessLink Program for youth and young adults.

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The Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics is Boston's Civic R&D Lab / Incubator.

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New Urban Mechanics

The Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics is Boston's Civic R&D Lab / Incubator.