Well, maybe engineering isn’t for everyone, but a vast majority of students who participate in the ACE program are thrilled by the possibilities for creativity and problem solving in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. Every year, we see a mix of new and returning students, and as mentors, we try to find new, fun, and exciting ways to show them what we do.
The primary goal of the ACE Mentor Program is to engage and excite high school students so that they become interested in pursuing careers in our field. I’ve been an ACE Mentor since 2008, when a colleague, Chad Reinemann, asked for my help with it. Our office has been involved with the program since 2004. There are seven other companies in the Albany area who participate, and we all take turns hosting two or three sessions throughout the school year.
|Chris (left) and fellow Stantec ACE |
mentor Chad Reinemann at a session.
In Albany, Stantec hosted two of the project sessions. The first focused on structural engineering. After a short presentation about what structural engineers do, the students were given index cards and tape with the assignment of constructing a roof system that could span 8 inches. The finished models were then load tested, and the students were able to see how the strengths of each design compared to the others.
For our second session, Chad and I recruited two members from the survey group to help. Jason Swett and Charlie Helmrath set up surveying equipment around the office, showed the students how to use it, and then gave them the opportunity to locate pre-established points.
|Stantec colleague Jason Swett showing |
students how to use survey equipment.
After all was said and done, one student’s father expressed his thanks to the mentors and perhaps gave us one of our most satisfying endorsements. He said his son, a high school freshman, was always overly excited to attend the sessions and can’t wait to be able to do it again next year. And that is the reason why we are ACE mentors. It is gratifying to be able to make what we do every day seem interesting and exciting to the new generation of designers and builders.