ACE Student Mentoring Program Completing Second Year

During the first four months of the 09-10 school year, fifteen students from Bloomfield High School participated in an after-school program that exposes high school students to career opportunities in Architecture, Construction, and Engineering disciplines. The ACE Mentoring Program of America, Inc. partners with industry professionals to mentor students and provide hands on, real-world experience at local schools.

For 90 minutes each week, the high school students met with architects, Randall Luther, Nathan Tuttle and Jeff Brown from TSKP STUDIO along with Jennifer Frank from Diggs Construction. Working through the same steps that the professional design team would undertake, each week the students learned about a different aspect of the design process. Guest speakers such as mechanical and electrical engineers, lighting designers, civil and structural engineers and landscape architects talked to the students about their specific roles and responsibilities in the design development process.

The mentoring team guided the students through the challenge of designing an addition to the Bloomfield High School specifically to house the school's library. A new library was one small component of the actual high school improvement program currently underway, so students have been able to connect the theoretical work they did in the classroom with a real-world project they could watch progress at their school.

After the structural engineer visited, students were given 6 pieces of wood and asked to design and build a truss that would be able to support at least one brick. "At first the students all thought that it could not be done," said Randall Luther, "but by the end of the exercise each team had built trusses that held at least one brick and one group built a truss that held 6 bricks!"

The goal of increasing the awareness of high school students to career opportunities has been realized with three of last year's students continuing their studies after high school. One student went on to the architecture program at the University of Hartford, a second is now studying architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and several students from last year's group came back for a second program this past fall.

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