The Chicago ACE Mentor Program and Associate Board of Directors is happy to announce two scholarship opportunities offered exclusively to ACE Chicago Alumni: our annual ACE Alumni Scholarship and the Eli W. Cohen Scholarship. See further details below regarding the award, eligibility and the application process.

Both awards are offered to encourage excellence at post-secondary levels and to bridge our support of ACE students from high school graduation to an eventual career in the design or construction industry. Applicants will be assessed by the ACE Chicago Associate Board of Directors and will be based on the following criteria:

  • Outstanding performance in the student’s chosen ACE-related education track
  • Compelling personal character
  • Demonstration of leadership within scholastic and/or extracurricular activities
  • Organization and presentation of the student’s application

Annual ACE Alumni Scholarship

  • Sponsored by the ACE Associate Board
  • One-time $2,000 scholarship
  • Eligibility: Chicago ACE alumni seeking a degree in the fields of Architecture, Construction, Engineering, or related disciplines at the undergraduate or graduate level. Qualified applicants must have completed at least 1 year of post-secondary education.

Eli W. Cohen Scholarship

  • Sponsored by the family of Eli W. Cohen, a renowned structural engineer who helped forge the Chicago skyline and founded the consulting firm that eventually became Thornton Tomasetti. The Cohen family will participate in the selection of the scholarship recipient.
  • Recurring $2,000 award paid annually for max of 3 years until graduation.
  • Eligibility: Chicago alumni pursuing an engineering degree. Qualified applicants must have completed at least 1 year of post-secondary education.

Applicants interested in one or both of these scholarships must email the below documents for consideration by October 23, 2017 to Once you send your attachments to this address they will be automatically uploaded to our system and you should receive a confirmation email.

  • Resume and cover letter, including the dates of enrollment in the ACE program
  • Personal statement reflecting on your experiences in the ACE program and highlighting your commitment to the design and/or construction industries (approx. 1-2 typed pages)
  • Official transcript(s) reflecting coursework through Spring 2017
  • Letter of recommendation written by an employer, teacher, mentor or other person familiar with your collegiate or professional work (letter should be either emailed directly to the Associate Board email or sealed/signed & mailed, and may not be written by a member of the ACE Board)
  • Please indicate if you are interested in the ACE Alumni Scholarship, the Eli W. Cohen scholarship or both.

Recommendation letters can be sent directly by the author (from their email address) to the above address OR, OR mailed to:

ACE Alumni Scholarship

c/o Katrina Fernandez Nova

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

111 West Monroe Street, Suite 2300

Chicago, IL 60603

We look forward to receiving your application! Please contact us at with any questions.


ACE Chicago Associate Board of Directors

Our final week of the design-build workshop was very productive and exciting! We embarked on the construction phase, spending the entire week at the job site. Although we faced a few minor setbacks during construction, we were able to successfully bring the vision for our project to life, presenting the final product to our client, ACE, family, and friends on Friday. Special thanks goes to the ACE Mentors and Administration, The National Public Housing Museum, ACE Technical High School, Chicago Rolled Metal Products, Cushing Co., and Clayco Corp., for their generosity in helping to make this project a reality.

The project features a total of 40 spinning acrylic panels with graphics, information about the future museum, and historical facts related to the history of the Jane Addams Homes on both sides supported by an aluminum frame and “tree-like” column structure with Polycarbonate roof panels. Take a look at the images below of the “Informational Kiosk” for the future National Public Housing Museum located at 1324 W. Taylor St. in Chicago, IL, as well as candid’s from the week and our final presentation.


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This week was a busy one for the students! After some hiccups and quick fixes, our design was officially finalized, and all materials were ordered throughout the week. The students created construction drawings and began construction of the panel components of their design. Additionally, they started the final boards for the presentation of the completed design, which will be held next Friday August 11th at the completion of the program. We are currently coordinating various material deliveries for next week, and can’t wait to get started building on site bright and early Monday morning!

Week 6

This week the students were very busy! A lot of time was spent refining the design in order to create construction documents and order materials. Although the project is now slightly behind schedule, the students’ design has improved greatly since last week. Mock ups were made of the panel construction design, as well as Sketchup and Revit 3D models.

The students were also fortunate enough to visit the offices of Cushing Co. and Chicago Metal Rolled Products, where they were given tours and information regarding their project. Everyone learned a lot, and we are optimistic that the finished product will be great for the National Public Housing Museum and for the surrounding community.


week 5

This week, the team focused on finalizing the materiality for each aspect of the project. We worked in three different groups throughout the week: Informational Panels Group, Tree Column/Roof Group, and Budget/Schedule Group. Communication between all three groups was essential to the progression of the project and for accomplishing this week’s tasks. Both the Informational Panel and Tree & Column groups produced detail drawings using Auto Cad, displaying dimensions and annotations for each component.  The Informational Panel group also created a full size mock-up of one panel, helping us to understand what type of hardware and connections are needed to properly secure them. The budget & scheduling group worked to develop a detailed budget and began reaching out to potential contractors/suppliers to receive quotes for specific project scopes of work.

Friday was a field trip day! We traveled to three different places. Our first stop was the Aqua Tower where we received a tour of the bKL Architecture Offices. Next, we walked to the Magellan Development Group’s Lakeshore East Office. There, we learned about the master planning of the Lakeshore East Development and had the opportunity to see a scaled model of the entire development. We also walked over to a construction site for one of their projects, where we met with the construction manager and discussed the project. Our last stop was to the Hull House Museum. We received a tour of the entire house and learned more about the history behind both the house itself and Jane Addams.

collage 4

During week 3 of the summer design build program, the team focused on finalizing the design of the project and creating a presentation for the client meeting. Students worked together to produce final hand drawings, a digital model using Sketchup, and two physical models. Towards the end of the week, students began developing the project budget and schedule. Jason Perez , a Senior Project Manager, came and provided us with insight about developing a budget and schedule, sharing a few examples with us.



On Friday, we met with the client and community members to present our design. We had a great presentation and received positive feedback about the overall design. Following the presentation, the team discussed the revisions that we need to make to the design based on the client’s feedback as well as the direction that we want to take moving forward as far as scheduling, budgeting, and material selection.

  • Presentation Slides:
  • Client Meeting:


This week, students visited the site of our design/build project, and the future site of the National Public Housing Museum. Located at the corner of Ada and Taylor streets, this site is situated between Little Italy and University Village, and minutes away from the UIC campus. The students got to measure the actual dimensions of the site to get a better idea of where they want to place our design/build object, and get specifics on the size of our structure. We then explored the neighborhood, including the community garden across the street.

week 2 collage 1

After the site visit, we continued developing the design and have come to a decision on a final concept for the project. On Friday, we began to explore using the laser cutter and 3D printer to create models for our designs. Architect Phil Tu presented a tutorial to our team, teaching us how to properly operate the 3D printer. In addition, we created a scale model of one of the proposed designs using the laser cutter.

week 2 collage 2


As the students continue designing and adding detail to their concept, the project will continue to grow and evolve. We are eagerly preparing for our meeting with the Client next week!

We have officially kicked off our first week into this summer’s design build program! On Tuesday, June 27th, students had the opportunity to engage in a design Charrette with representatives from the ACE Mentor Program, National Public Housing Museum, and Chicago Public Schools. Faced with the challenge to develop a creative solution for a project to increase awareness of the National Public Housing Museum, students developed and presented a multitude of ideas addressing the design problem. Charrette participants worked together in teams to complete a site analysis of the museum as well as a proposed design concept.

collage 01

For the rest of the week, the team worked to narrow down our ideas. We created a list of the concepts, themes, and elements to incorporate in the design. In addition, we had a Sketch Up tutorial, researched precedents, and created a variety of sketches illustrating new concepts based on the feedback from Tuesday’s Charrette.

  • Concepts: Kiosk, Interactive fence, Sound Booth, Information Kiosk, tree, 3D Letters, Digital Storyboard, Convenience Store, Informational Structure (zig zag panels), Digital Face Cube, Canopy Structure, Bus Stop, Slideshow Fence
  • Themes: Roots, history, home, culture, relationships, society, family, humanization
  • Design Elements to Include & Consider: Provide/Collect information, audio/visual/engaging components, tell multiple stories, Be honest, Constructability, Mobility, Local Partnerships, Materiality, Digital, Interactive Components



Students sketched their ideas for this summer’s T-shirt design!

collage 03


Student Thoughts:

“I learned new ways to use Sketch Up, which was cool and very helpful. I also learned about kiosks during the program and what it is. I also learned more about public housing.”

  • Carlos S.

“I enjoyed getting revisions, working with people, and getting to know others. It has been a fun experience and environment. I love having something to do over the summer!”

  • Trinidad R.

“One thing I learned from the charrette is that clients don’t always have a clear idea going into a project but its our jobs to guide them through the process and create something that satisfies them.”

  • Darshan A.

Stay tuned for more updates!

These 2 weeks demonstrated the hard work of the students to finalize their ideas for the high school they’ve designed, branded the Chi H.U.B. School of Technology. Hosted at the CannonDesign office, students and mentors finished developing the designs of the school as well as the structural calculations, construction planning and landscape design. Groups working in Revit coordinated rendering images to provide the best snapshots of the school as they related to adjacent spaces. The branding team finalized the school’s objectives, logo & school name and layout of each slide.

Coordination was key in these weeks as the information of each of the groups was compiled into the presentation. As a group students and mentors decided on the order and flow of the presentation, the number of slides each group would have, and speaker order. The team began reviewing the presentation for the final in order to best describe the project they have worked so diligently to produce in a concise amount of time. After 2 pass-throughs as a team the time to present shortened greatly as the students became more comfortable with presenting their information. By the end of week 14 all of the content was finalized and placed into the presentation — all that remained was continuous practice on the verbal portion of the presentation to bring everything together. Also, a group photo was taken of Team 4! This included mentors from CannonDesign, Mortenson & Thornton Tomasetti, as well as the students that represent 14 schools in Illinois & Indiana.

PowerPoint - Pics2


These weeks of ACE were busy in production. Meeting at CannonDesign’s office both weeks, students further developed plans and ideas in Revit for the each of the program types. Additionally, new groups were arranged to address Sustainability, Logistics, Structure, Landscape & Branding/Presentation. Each group (program & additional groups) consisted of 3-4 students with 1-2 mentors each.

The biggest developments of these weeks involved each team working in a variety of platforms: Revit, RAM (structural software), post-it note pull planning, bubble diagramming, sketching, and Adobe design software. Mentors from Mortenson & Thornton Tomasetti lead groups in structural calculations, logistics, phase planning and site development. Additionally, the branding/presentation team developed bubble diagrams to narrow in on the objectives of the school as well as the sequence of slides for the final presentation.

PowerPoint - Pics