The A.C.E. program isn’t only about building structures, but building connections. The Architecture Construction and Engineering program is a mentorship program that links young students interested in a profession with a master in the field.
This national program hopes to instruct students about the variety of technical careers, and inspire them to pursue them. The Portland Chapter of A.C.E. consists of about 150 students, three from Cleveland. Students are split into groups of about 10, depending on their interests, and are given a collection of mentors from each of the three fields highlighted in A.C.E. The mentors are experts in their field, and are passionate about what they’re doing and the enjoy giving help. Each year, the students are instructed to create a structure with a function, based on a theme provided by the A.C.E. program each year; last year, the theme was recreation.
Last year, Cleveland senior Talia Deady’s group decided to create a pool movie theatre. “This year, we’re designing an indoor beach, because we were supposed to do something about recreation.” Each year, the program gives the students a specific construction site in Portland; Deady’s area is a lot near the Lloyd Center Mall.
The A.C.E. program lasts 12 weeks, and during those weeks, the groups create floor and elevation plans, mechanical, electrical, and structural drafts, and landscape design. Each week, the groups travel to a location, usually the office of one of their mentors. “At the space, the mentor leads a session in what they specialize in, or in something they are knowledgeable about, and we learn about that for the first half, and then the second half we work on our project,” said Leigh Annand, a junior at Cleveland. At the sixth week, each group presents its project at PSU. By the end of the program, the project becomes a pitch.
The A.C.E. program allows students to gain an idea for their future career. Although she realizes she won’t want to go into structural engineering, Deady has gained a sense for what a career in engineering looks like. “It is good for me, because a lot of girls write off engineering, without knowing what it is, so I’m glad I got to know what it entails,” Deady said.
Last year, the ACE program awarded a total of $13,00 dollars in scholarships to three seniors at Cleveland. Many of the seniors this year in ACE from Cleveland plan to apply to the scholarships.
If a student is interested in design or architecture, or engineering, Deady urges them to join, as it “gives you a practical idea of what you would be doing,” Deady said, “and it’s really fun, and it looks good on college application.”