For the past academic year, a group of 13 New York City high school students joined practitioners from SOM, Atelier Ten, and Sciame Construction to participate in the 2017 ACE Mentor Program. The students, known as Team 25, presented their final projects to a panel of judges at New York University on Tuesday, May 23rd.
The ACE Mentor Program is designed to inspire high school students to pursue careers in architecture, construction, and engineering. SOM’s New York office has participated since 1997. As a team leader for the first time, SOM hosted weekly meetings and created an active program curriculum, which included guest lectures on current projects and workshop activities familiarizing the students with the design process.
Students gained experience in diverse topics, including structural systems, interior design, and transportation. Team 25’s final project, “The Valley,” is a concept design for a mixed-use complex comprising two buildings in Lower Manhattan. In the course of the project, the team learned about issues such as zoning, FAR, sustainability, community development, construction sequence, and budget.
SOM Associate Nathan King and architect Sherry Xuan Yang, the organizers of this year’s program and longtime participants, noted great success. “We are really excited about this year’s group of students and their ambitious project,” said King. “We had an incredibly dedicated group of architecture and engineering mentors—the largest group I can remember.”
Said Yang, “Based on feedback from the students, one of the real benefits of ACE—in addition to the talks and the activities—is the chance to speak to mentors about the day-to-day professional practice and to learn about the different career paths that they can take.” Along with the mentorship program, ACE supports the continued advancement of students through scholarships and grants. Two students from Team 25, senior Julia Mendyk and junior Yu Jie Chen, received scholarships this year.
Earlier this year, Team 25 constructed a model of a skyscraper using the Sunday edition of The New York Times, winning an ACE Mentorship challenge. The winning submission was featured on Instagram.