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Project Coach

Project Coach, Smith’s nationally recognized youth development and leadership program, connects the resources of the Smith community to a Smith-created youth development program. Through a cascading mentorship model, teens from city schools are supported, tutored and connected to Smith staff and graduate students in a four-day per week youth leadership program that prepares teens to be coaches and leaders in their communities and in their own lives.

Four students in Project Coach

Fast Facts

Quick Facts

  • On average, 45 Smith students are placed in apprenticeships in 5 major cities each year
  • Over the last XX years, 100% of the teens involved in Project Coach have graduated from high school
  • Since its inception, 95% of the teens who have participated in the program have gone on to higher education

To learn more about Project Coach and how you can become involved, please contact Erin Decou,


Project Coach Graduate Fellowships

About the Project Coach Fellowship

The Project Coach (PC) Graduate Fellowship in Teaching or Exercise & Sport Science is designed to prepare aspiring educators and coaches through firsthand experience in mentorship and sports-based youth development.

We believe that to be a good educator or coach one must understand the socioecosystem of a child’s life—the 20 percent of the time they spend in school as well as their crucial out-of-school experiences. Project Coach Fellows work in Smith College’s nationally recognized youth development program that provides free after-school recreation and academic support to children and teens in Springfield, Massachusetts. The fellowship is a singular opportunity for aspiring teachers to explore the critical factors that shape a child’s life.

PC Fellows work as mentors, coaches and team leaders in Project Coach’s afterschool program. Fellows receive academic-year tuition waivers equal to the cost of their grad programs. Fellows must pay for summer course tuition if their graduate program requires it.

Fellowship Requirements 

PC Fellows work toward their MAT degree or MS in exercise and sport studies by attending Smith College classes and working 6–8 hours per week as an assistant in Project Coach, which will link them with youth in Springfield, Massachusetts. Learn more about Smith’s Master of Arts in Teaching Program and Master of Science in Exercise & Sport Studies.

Application Instructions

In order to be considered for the Project Coach Fellowship, applicants must be accepted by the Smith College graduate program of their choice, either the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) or the Master of Exercise & Sport Science (ESS). Please visit the Smith College graduate program website for details on those programs and application instructions. Both the MAT and ESS programs have their own deadlines.

To apply for the PC Fellowship, you must complete the PC Fellowship Supplemental Application for submission to the graduate program office in addition to your graduate program application.

Project Coach graduate Michael Carter
“Project Coach showed me that by truly investing in young people—going to their games, meeting their families, genuinely asking about their day—you build a relationship with young people that not only transforms them academically, but transforms the world in which they live.”

— Michael Carter, a Springfield, Massachusetts, 2013 Project Coach Fellow