What is the Chicago ACE Mentor Program?

ACE is an after-school program for high-school juniors and seniors who want to learn more about careers in architecture, construction management and engineering.

How does the ACE Program work?

ACE is comprised of design and construction professionals who team together and mentor a group of 25 students during the school year. Team meetings take place after school for two hours (5:00-7:00 PM), once per week, in downtown Chicago design firms. Participants must arrange own transportation. The program lasts for 16 weekly sessions from October through March and is free – no charge to participate.

What are the benefits of ACE?

· Mentoring by professionals in the design and construction industry
· Participation in hands-on design activities
· Field trips to construction sites
· College-focused sessions with campus visits & panel discussions
· Opportunity to win college scholarships and paid summer internships – ACE Chicago has awarded over $1 million in college scholarships and 109 internships!

Who is eligible to apply to ACE?

· Juniors or seniors
· Students with a minimum GPA of 2.5
· Students interested in learning more about careers in design and construction
· Those committed to actively attending and participating in weekly team meetings

Applications for the 2016-17 school year are now being accepted!
Application deadline is Friday, October 7, 2016

Top 5 Student Questions About ACE

What happens during a mentoring session?

Twenty-five to 30 students from various citywide schools are assigned per mentor team. You’ll be meeting in downtown Chicago, at the offices of the architects, engineers and construction managers who serve as the team mentors. Meeting will take place once per week from 4:30-6:30 or 5:00-7:00 PM. You’ll do hands-on activities, such as go on an architectural scavenger hunt, build a bridge out of spaghetti and gumdrops, play architecture trivia games, do a hand-sketch of your house. Special events include tours of buildings under construction and field trips to college campuses to view the architecture and engineering studios. The team collaborates on planning and creating a building design, that is featured with sketches, models and an oral presentation at the End-of-Year Presentations event in the Spring.

HOW WILL I BE ASSIGNED TO A TEAM?

Teams meet weekly on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday afternoon. On your on-line application, indicate which day(s) of the week you are available to meet after school. We will try to meet your preferences and place you on a team based on the day(s) of the week that you choose. Once you have been assigned to a team, you will meet during that team’s assigned day.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I SUBMIT MY APPLICATION?

Your application will be reviewed and you will receive an e-mail during the week of October 11th notifying you if you have been accepted into the ACE program. In November , we will hold a kickoff meeting in which all ACE students and parents will meet their mentors for the first time. Regular team meetings will begin the week of November 6th, 2016.

WHAT ARE MY OBLIGATIONS AS A PARTICIPANT?

To get the most of the ACE experience, we hope that you will regularly attend team meetings and events. Your mentors volunteer their time in preparing and participating in sessions for you.  Out of respect for their efforts, please let your mentors know if you cannot attend a session.

Also, share your ideas, opinions and suggestions with your mentors and fellow students. Remember this program is for you – you can make it an even better program if you communicate your interests!

HOW DO I WIN A SCHOLARSHIP OR INTERNSHIP?

Only students who have been active in ACE during the school year are eligible to apply for an ACE scholarship or internship. Students who wish to be considered submit an on-line application when the application process begins in the spring. Winners will be chosen in consideration of their outstanding participation in ACE, academic record, mentors recommendation, among other criteria. 

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What do you
learn from ACE?

“The ACE program is a real look into real life jobs and experience. I used to think the transition into college and real life would be difficult, but ACE has showed me otherwise. The program gives a real good sense of responsibility and team work.”
Juan, Juarez High School

“ACE has provided me with so many tools and experiences that will ultimately help me in the future. I have experienced what it takes to design and plan something that seems like a straightforward project. You are not just told that teamwork is essential; you see and experience it firsthand. I have been prepared for my inevitable transition from high school.”
Alexy, Walter Payton High School

“School can only teach so much – the ACE program gives students a chance to learn outside the classroom, studying and working side by side with professionals. In the ACE Program I have learned how important working as a team really is, and that it takes many dedicated people to come together for a project to become a reality. It is definitely an experience that I am happy to be a part of.”
Kris, Lane Tech High School

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