Architecture · Construction · Engineering

ACE Mentor Program

Its mission is to engage, excite and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, and construction, supporting their continued advancement in the industry through mentoring.

Holland Basham Architects is a founding member of the ACE-Omaha Mentor Program. The program is designed to introduce and inspire high school students while experiencing a career in design and construction. Through this opportunity, more than 8,000 students nationwide, each year are able to gain-hands on experience through hypothetical and real-world projects, construction site tours and visits to professional offices.

For HBA, the opportunity to work with the students at Omaha South High School in the ACE Program has been extremely rewarding.

“Currently, we are working with about 12 students. The project focuses on the Omaha Public School Norris Middle School addition and upgrades,” says Brittany McClure, HBA Architect and Lead ACE Mentor. “The students will look at site planning, construction feasibility, engineering systems, and architectural design.”

The project started in early January and will run for 16 weeks. Each student brings their own background and experiences to the table. Throughout the program, students will enhance and strengthen personal and team building skills.

“Last week we conducted a charrette where the students were drawing on trace paper, tossing ideas around and experiencing what we do professionally when meeting with consultants. It was such a great opportunity to see them brainstorm in a collaborative way,” McClure says.

The program goes far beyond the classroom to connect with students on a professional and personal level. HBA’s main focus with the ACE Mentor Program is economic inclusion. The firm is dedicated to expanding the availability of architectural education and integrating students into this field. HBA believes each individual should have an equal opportunity to explore their future career options and connect with professionals in their field of interest.

At the end of the 16 weeks, students are inspired to set goals and be a part of their community. It also gives them an opportunity to explore their creative side and develop skills that can advance them in their career early on. In addition, the program financially supports students through scholarships and grants to help prepare them for college.

HBA hopes to keep encouraging high school students to join the ACE Mentor Program and become involved.

“We are just as excited as the students are to see the end results, and it’s energizing to see the project from a fresh perspective,” McClure says.  “They are capable of grasping complex concepts that you wouldn’t typically expect from high school students, and it’s gratifying to see it all come together.”

To learn how to get involved in the ACE Mentor Program or to donate money to the scholarship fund, please visit http://www.acementor.org/affiliates/nebraska/

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