Charlie Thornton, the structural engineer who founded the national ACE Mentor Program, visited Portland last week to celebrate the Oregon affiliate’s 10th anniversary.
Thornton served as the keynote speaker at the ACE Mentor Program’s annual fundraising luncheon, where Oregon’s thriving design-and-build community raised about $70,000 in college scholarships for students interested in pursuing careers in architecture, construction and engineering.
Joining Thornton on stage were current and former ACE students, as well as a teacher and mentor who shared their perspectives on the program’s positive impact.
“(ACE) has given him a kind of vision for what his career might look like,” said Parkrose High School educator Ally Packer about her student Luis Soto Nampula. “It encouraged him and solidified his dream.”
This year, about 140 students from 41 Portland-area high schools are working in small teams on conceptual building projects. They are supported by about 100 mentors, all professionals in their fields. The teams will present their final projects on Tuesday, May 10, and Thursday, May 12. The 2016 scholarship winners will be announced at these final presentations.
The ACE Mentor Program contracts with the nonprofit Portland Workforce Alliance for part-time staffing. PWA and ACE share similar missions to create career-learning experiences as part of a strategy to support Oregon’s future workforce and help students develop informed, inspired career aspirations.