November 6, 2019 – Sargent & Lundy was a gold level sponsor at a recent ACE Chicago Mentor Program fundraiser. The ACE Mentor Program of America is a free afterschool program that introduces high school students nationwide—and often in underserved areas—to architecture, construction, and engineering professions. ACE has more than 70 chapters operating in 37 states.
The Chicago Associate Board raised over $16,500 at the fundraiser that will be used for the continuous support of ACE alumni and mentors. Over the past year the board supported the hiring of four teaching assistants for the Design Build Workshop, a unique summer apprenticeship program that immerses students in a 7-week, hands-on community design project. The teaching assistants, who are current college students, are alumni of the ACE program and receive a scholarship for their participation.
Mentorship programs like ACE are critical in increasing industry diversity by engaging underrepresented groups to explore engineering; 76% of 2019 Chicago ACE mentees are minorities and 45% are female.
Sargent & Lundy has been an ardent supporter of the ACE Mentor Program for over seven years. This year’s program kicked off the last week of October with a student orientation where mentors from the firm met the students who will be on their design project teams. Together with their mentors, the teams of students spend November through March working on a design project they present at a spring showcase.
“Throughout the program, we’re not only helping students explore opportunities in engineering, we’re building meaningful connections,” said Stacy Horan, president of the ACE Mentor Chicago Associate Board and Sargent & Lundy’s ACE Mentor chapter co-leader. “Students from previous teams have even kept in touch while in college. Other mentors and I have written letters of recommendation to help them pursue various academic and professional opportunities. It’s great to know we can play a role in helping our mentees achieve their goals even after they’ve completed the program.”
Large majorities of students report in surveys that, as a result of their ACE experience, they felt more motivated to attend college, learned skills and knowledge not taught in their classrooms, and gained useful information about the design and construction industry. One-quarter of ACE seniors entering college are first generation students.
“One of the most energizing aspects of mentoring is being able to encourage students to be creative, to challenge them to become more outgoing and inquisitive about the world around them, and especially to nurture their excitement about the many different career opportunities for engineers,” said Horan. “I truly appreciate being part of an organization that helps these promising students.”
Thank you to our 2019-2020 Sargent & Lundy ACE team mentors: Kevin Schreiber (co-lead), Stacy Horan (co-lead), Josh Junge, Elvin Moy, Dave Nauheimer, Erin O’Keefe, Thomas Smith, and Marty Daly.