The ACE Mentor Program is back in session! ACE is a free after school program for high school students interested in architecture, construction, and engineering. Students work with professionals from various disciplines, experiment with real-life scenarios, and put their heads together to find solutions for realistic projects. We are excited to have Lund Opsahl mentors participate again this year. Our ACE mentors include Isaiah Coleman, Chris Cattron, Casey Moore, and Mauricio Ayala-Cruz.

A few weeks ago, Lund Opsahl’s session kicked off at Mithun’s office, our ACE partner. The session began with online quiz to get students engaged and thinking about structures. Our mentors then gave a brief introduction on structural engineering followed by hands-on activities.

Assembled into small groups, students were given building materials– toothpicks and gum drops. They were tasked with crafting the tallest structure they could. Unbeknownst to the students, their buildings would be put to the test. Mentors went around and shook the tables holding their structures demonstrating the seismic forces that could affect buildings in the event of an earthquake. Chaos and fun ensued!

Following the “earthquake”, students had a chance to reinforce their structures, using only cardboard and string. Creativity flowed as the students thought of ingenious solutions, from lashing structures with string to creating cardboard bracing systems and cores. Our mentors noted how awesome it was to see the students thinking structurally before even learning many of the structural concepts to come. The whole night involved friendly competition that engaged and excited students.

We are grateful for the opportunity to share the ingenuity and creativity within the Structural Engineering discipline with ACE mentees. Mentorship is one of our Core Values, and we believe in ACE Mentor Program as an opportunity to mentor and inspire the next generation of architecture, construction, and engineering leaders.

Learn about engineers Chris Cattron and Casey Moore and why they volunteer as ACE mentors. Mentorship made a huge impact in their journeys, from their time as students in high school to college and now as full-time employees and ACE mentors.