How the Tulsa Service Year Fellowship Gave Paige Wibbenmeyer Non-Profit Experience

Apr 02, 2024
Paige Webbenmeyer stands for a portrait photo wearing a black graphic t-shirt and jeans.
Tulsa Service Year Fellow Paige Wibbenmeyer.

The Tulsa Service Year Fellowship is an opportunity for recent college graduates to gain hands-on experience by working full-time at one of several nonprofit organizations in Tulsa. The program seeks to recruit the brightest, most talented, and service-oriented individuals to work on social strategies in a year of service. Applicants from across the United States are welcome to apply. Fellows can choose from four areas of service: Entrepreneurial Support, Social Impact, Civic Leadership, and Arts and Education.

Paige Wibbenmeyer is a Tulsa Service Year Fellow currently serving in this competitive fellowship program. As a fellow, Paige is working at Fab Lab Tulsa, where she assists with marketing, social media management, and STEM-based education in local schools. She joined us to discuss her background, her fellowship experience, and tips for prospective applicants.

Can you tell us about your background and professional journey? What led you to apply to the Tulsa Service Year Fellowship?

My professional journey has been quite diverse, shaped by a passion for community engagement and a desire to make the world a more creative and interconnected place. I graduated with a degree in Arts Management and Fine Arts and have since been involved in various volunteer initiatives, practicums, and internships from nonprofits to corporations. During college, I held two different practicums, one at the Tulsa Botanic Gardens and another at the Arts Alliance Tulsa. Both of my experiences centered on community engagement and event planning. Another internship held at a marketing company called New Engen allowed me to develop my social media marketing skill set. During college, I ran an online thrifting business that sold used clothes and organized events on campus. I thoroughly enjoyed the way that business connected me to the campus community and encouraged students to become more environmentally friendly. 

Through my experiences, I developed a wide range of marketing and event planning skills that I wanted to continue growing in the nonprofit world. Tulsa is a small community full of interconnected nonprofits that offered new opportunities for me to grow in my career. This led me to discover the Tulsa Service Year Fellowship. The unique combination of hands-on experience, mentorship, and the opportunity to contribute to the vibrant community of Tulsa greatly appealed to me.

In short, my community development background and a deep commitment to nonprofits led me to apply for the Tulsa Service Year Fellowship. I see it as a transformative experience that not only aligns with my professional goals but also allows me to immerse myself in a community dedicated to positive change.


The Tulsa Service Year cohort hold up a series of similar paintings depicting a river, mountains, and the sun. Behind them is a red wall reading "Pinot's Palette" with other paintings on the wall.
Paige Wibbenmeyer with her Tulsa Service Year cohort posing with their art during their get-together at Pinot’s Palette.

Can you describe what a week in the life of a Tulsa Service Year Fellow is like? How did this opportunity impact your career?

A typical week as a Tulsa Service Year Fellow at Fab Lab is dynamic and filled with a range of responsibilities. One of the aspects I appreciate most about this role is the variety of experiences it offers. I was placed in the makerspace nonprofit Fab Lab Tulsa through this fellowship. My work offers the Tulsa community memberships to use our machines for anything they might create, from 3D printing animals to building a wooden table for their house. Our lab offers a wood shop, metal shop, 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl machines, a water jet cutter, and so much more. We also offer classes for the community and STEM-based education for public schools, which I have had the opportunity to lead. On any given day, I might find myself collaborating with the Fab Lab team to organize and promote creative workshops for the community.

Additionally, I play a pivotal role in managing the social media content for Fab Lab Tulsa. This includes crafting engaging posts, showcasing our workshops and events, and fostering an online community passionate about art, technology, and innovation. Through this responsibility, I’ve honed my digital marketing and content creation skills, which are invaluable in today’s interconnected world.

Part of my week is also dedicated to networking and partnership development. With the help of the fellowship, I’ve had the privilege of connecting with local artists, educators, and organizations, fostering collaborations that extend the reach of Fab Lab’s impact. Once a month, Tulsa Service Year hosts panels, lunch meetings, brewery nights, or retreats where we can either discover a new place in Tulsa or network with local professionals in the Tulsa area. Whether attending community events or hosting networking sessions, this fellowship has allowed me to expand my professional network significantly.

In terms of advancing my career in arts management and nonprofits, the hands-on experience at Fab Lab has been transformative. I’ve gained insights into the operational aspects of a creative space, from event planning to budget management. Working closely with community members and understanding their needs has deepened my understanding of the intersection between technology, art, and community engagement. Moreover, the fellowship structure incorporates mentorship opportunities, guiding experienced professionals in the arts and technology sectors. I chose a local artist as my mentor who has connected me to other artists and museum professionals in the Tulsa area. We meet monthly to chat about her work and where I might continue my career path. This mentorship has been instrumental in shaping my career path and offering valuable insights that go beyond what traditional educational settings can provide.

The Tulsa Service Year Fellowship at Fab Lab has been an immersive and enriching experience. It has allowed me to contribute meaningfully to a vibrant creative community, refine my arts management skills, and build a network of inspiring professionals who share my passion for innovation and community development.


The Tulsa Service Year Cohort takes a group photo at a brewery. The floor is made of wooden planks and behind them are a group of plastic domes.
At this event, Paige and fellow members wrapped Christmas presents for children in need at a local brewery.

How have your fellowship experiences served your academic and professional goals? How will you incorporate them moving forward?

The Tulsa Service Year Fellowship has been instrumental in shaping both my academic and professional aspirations. From an academic perspective, the hands-on experiences at Fab Lab Tulsa have provided real-world applications of the theories and concepts I’ve learned throughout my educational journey. For example, I’ve had the opportunity to apply concepts learned about the inner workings of nonprofits to my own work at Fab Lab in Tulsa. This practical immersion has enhanced my understanding of arts management in ways that traditional coursework couldn’t achieve.

Professionally, the fellowship has been a springboard for my career in arts management. I’ve had the opportunity to wear multiple hats, from organizing community workshops to managing social media content for Fab Lab. These varied responsibilities have allowed me to develop a versatile skill set crucial in the ever-evolving landscape of arts management.

Moving forward in my career, I plan to leverage the experiences gained during the fellowship to contribute meaningfully to the field of arts management. The connections I’ve forged with local artists, organizations, and mentors will remain valuable resources. The networking skills honed during the fellowship will be integral in establishing collaborations and partnerships that promote the intersection of technology and the arts.

As for my plans after the fellowship, I am eager to continue contributing to the arts and technology landscape. I am exploring opportunities to merge my community engagement passion with my arts management skills. This could involve pursuing leadership roles in art institutions, contributing to developing community-focused art projects, or even exploring entrepreneurship in the creative sector. I may end up going to graduate school for museum studies, as it would be a dream of mine to work in an art museum.

The Tulsa Service Year Fellowship has been a transformative experience, aligning seamlessly with my academic and professional goals. I am excited to carry forward the skills, connections, and insights gained during this fellowship into the next chapter of my career, where I aim to make lasting contributions to the dynamic and evolving field of arts management.


A young woman wearing safety glasses sits at a table with tools and a piece of wood with hardware embedded in it. She is fastening something to the block of wood with her hands.
One of Paige’s students from Fab Lab working with tools to create their project.

What advice do you have for others interested in applying to the Tulsa Service Year Fellowship?

The advice I would give to others interested in applying to Tulsa Service Year would be to take advantage of every opportunity the fellowship offers while you can. This fellowship hosts networking and social events and gives the fellows free access to Coursera, an online learning platform. You can meet other professionals from the nonprofits connected to Tulsa Service Year through networking events. This can help you with finding jobs after the fellowship or even partnerships between nonprofits. The nonprofit world is very small and connected in Tulsa, so getting to know as many people as possible is important because chances are you could be working with them in the future. 

Also, make friends with the people in your cohort. On average, you’re all in a similar age range or stage of life. If you’re new to Tulsa, exploring the city with your cohort is awesome. My favorite part of the fellowship has been Coursera, as this platform gives you access to a wide range of classes that, when completed, give professional certificates. I’ve expanded my social media marketing knowledge by taking courses through Coursera and have even been able to start learning to code. I would also add that you should take advantage of any project your work offers, as it will either go into your portfolio or resume or just teach you something new to take with you to your next job. The Tulsa Service Year Fellowship has been a wonderful learning opportunity, and I recommend it to anyone passionate about community engagement and social impact.

Interested in more service-oriented fellowships? Create a ProFellow account to access the database with over 2,700 fellowships and fully funded programs in any discipline.

Paige Webbenmeyer stands for a portrait photo wearing a black graphic t-shirt and jeans.Paige Wibbenmeyer graduated from the University of Tulsa in the spring of 2023 with a degree in arts management and art. In the future, she hopes to go back to school for Museum Studies and work for an art museum. Currently, she is working at Fab Lab Tulsa with Tulsa Service Year.

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