“Over the last four years, I have volunteered as part of the ACE Mentor Program. This program is open to high school juniors and seniors interested in Architecture, Construction, and Engineering (ACE). The program runs from January to May. Each year, approximately 50 Portland-area firms provide around 120 volunteer mentors for nearly 150 Portland-area high school students. The first two years the teams met on a biweekly basis for two hours at one of the mentor offices. When COVID hit everything went to Zoom meetings with meetings occurring weekly for one hour.
From 2018-2020, I participated as a mentor and in 2021 I participated as a team captain. The program gives students the opportunity to visit mentors’ workplaces and project job sites. Each team designs a project and presents their project’s progress during a mid-term review and to a large audience at the program finale in May.
The projects that the students and I worked on included a “pop-up” concept site design using a portion of the U.S. Postal site in the Pearl District, Adaptive Reuse Concept for a PSU parking garage, Passenger Ferry Dock on the Willamette River, and short term to long term housing needs. The impact that the mentor’s from this program have on the students is substantial. Studies show that students participating in ACE graduate high school at a greater rate, two-thirds of ACE graduates enter college majors linked to an ACE field, ACE increases the diversity of college students majoring in A-E-C.”