NuTec Staff Helping to Build Future A/E/C Workforce Through ACE Mentor Program

NuTec Design employees are encouraging and engaging students through the Central Pennsylvania chapter of the ACE Mentor Program. The ACE Mentor Program of America is a nationwide after-school mentoring program for high school students with the purpose of inspiring students to pursue careers in the architecture, construction, and engineering industries.

ACE Mentors are industry professionals who volunteer their time to expose students to real world design team challenges. Teams are composed of students and mentors which are structured similar to an actual design team, with the students being led through a mock design project from architects, engineers and construction managers. Students also have the opportunity to visit actual construction sites during the program.

Kimberlee McKitish, P.E., LEED, Manager of the Structural Department at NuTec Design Associates, Inc., volunteers her time in the Cumberland County School District once a week throughout the school year with high school students. She is on the Board of the Cumberland County chapter of ACE Mentoring where she helps plan and execute the programming for approximately 40 students each year. This includes finding mentors and serving as one herself.

Kimberlee will lead the program when the students start learning about her expertise, structural engineering. She explains an example exercise she would set up for the students.

“For the structural activity, we separate the students into small groups and hand out a set amount of gumdrops and spaghetti to build a structure to a list of criteria that can hold the most magazines in the group. The activities always try to incorporate a real world problem, so halfway through the building, we tell the students the client has decided to make a change to the original design and the tower must be three inches taller.”

Kimberlee says her greatest reward is “helping the students through the problem-solving and creativity of the challenge, as well as introducing them to a career path that I love."

Taryn Gilvey, E.I.T., a Structural Designer at NuTec Design Associates, Inc., mentors students who attend Lancaster County Schools. For the past 3 years, Taryn has spent almost every Tuesday evening helping high school students understand the industry and get a hands on feel for what exactly it takes to become an engineer or architect. She believes exposure to certain disciplines before college is critical in determining your future career path. Taryn wishes there was a program like this when she was in school since she started college majoring in architecture but switched to study structural engineering when she realized architecture wasn't really what she enjoyed.

Taryn explains why she is so committed to the ACE Mentorship program, "Watching the students get really enthusiastic about their design during the presentation in front of their parents is really fun to see.  Also, knowing that I might have made even a tiny impact on these students future and what they want to do with it is pretty gratifying." 

Josh Millman, AIA, CFM, LEED AP, Vice President of NuTec Design Associates, Inc., spent 5 years volunteering with the Dauphin County School District Ace Mentoring Program, 2 as a lecturer/mentor and 3 as a leader. As AIA Central PA Chapter President Josh became aware that current demographic trends indicated there will not be enough trained architects to meet demand within 20 years. He knew this was a way to address that concern and make a difference.

Josh’s greatest reward when he worked with the ACE Mentor Program was “to see students successfully gain admissions to ACE-related university programs, and then come back and tell the students about their university programs, and then become mentors and leaders for ACE.”

About ACE Mentor Program

ACE services are funded by firms, trade associations, and manufacturers in the A/E/C industry. This program not only helps increase the overall pool of college students majoring in engineering, architecture and construction management but helps increase diversity within the fields. ACE also provides scholarships to program alumni who major in an industry-related field. Learn more about ACE here: http://www.acementor.org/