InTrans / Sep 19, 2014

Mentoring future architects, construction workers, and engineers

Go! Magazine

Graduationposted on September 19, 2014

Are you currently in high school? Do you often wonder how you will combine your interests into a job in the future? Well, if you are one of many students interested in pursuing architecture, construction, engineering, or other related design careers, you have a unique opportunity to find out what a career in this field would be like while in high school.

What is the ACE Mentor Program?

A program known as ACE Mentor introduces high school students from all over the country to a wide range of career opportunities in architecture, construction, and engineering (ACE). Students starting this program in high school engage in projects that range from building new schools and mixed-use development to temporary housing for movie stars. To learn a bit more about a specific chapter, Central Iowa, we spoke with Professor Larry Cormicle.

A conversation with construction engineering senior lecturer, Larry Cormicle

What is your vision for the Iowa ACE Mentor program?

I would love to see an Iowa State chapter created to get more schools in Story City involved. I think schools like Ames High School could greatly benefit from this opportunity, especially since the University is so close by. Also, cities like Mason City and Iowa City should be included for expansion of this really unique opportunity.

What is the benefit of a high school student wanting to do the ACE Mentor program?

Students in this program are able to work side-by-side with working professionals in their field of interest. These students get a sneak peak at what a career would be like in architecture, construction, or engineering, which is really important in deciding a focus area for secondary education.

Students gain experience in programs like Auto Computer-Aided Design (AutoCAD), and are able to work with their mentors on projects challenging to industry professionals. High school students in Central Iowa meet and create a strong social network of professionals, many of which are Iowa State graduates. Down the road, this network could help students receive recommendation letters for scholarships, internships, college applications, as well as full-time employment. Also, students involved in the program can qualify for scholarships to fund their secondary education.

What projects do students do?

High school students interested in this program can join other students, who are led by professional mentors, to work on various projects. Once students get to college, what partnering club or program is offered similar to ACE Mentor? There are many opportunities for these students to continue gaining professional, real-world experience at their institution. For example, I have helped coach teams competing in the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) program for Iowa State. Another club is the American Society of Civil Engineers, which involves a national concrete canoe competition. The American Institute of Steel Construction has an annual steel bridge competition.

Scholarship Opportunity: ACE Mentor Program

Since the ACE Mentor Program’s founding in 1994, it has awarded $14 million in scholarships to students across the country. In this program, students across the country are given the chance to work in one of the 136 markets that participate in ACE.

To apply for the ACE Mentor Program scholarship, students must be involved in the ACE program. Check out the ACE website for more information on how to sign up! The ACE student scholarship is due in May, and typically is awarded to upper level high school students in the ACE program.

By Jackie Nester, Go! Staff Writer

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