Sargent & Lundy Builds Brighter Futures With ACE Mentor Program

Firm supports diversity in STEM, cultivating tomorrow's engineers

February 21, 2024 – In line with the 2024 Engineers Week theme, "Welcome to the Future," Sargent & Lundy remains dedicated to fostering future generations of engineers through its continued support of the ACE Mentor Program of America, a free program that empowers high school students to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, and construction. Through a combination of hands-on mentoring from employee volunteers, valuable industry exposure, and financial support, the firm not only shapes the future of aspiring AEC professionals but also plays a pivotal role in fostering diversity within science-, technology-, engineering-, and math-related fields.

ACE Mentor Chicago students perform a design projectSince 2010, Sargent & Lundy has been involved with ACE Mentor Chicago, a chapter local to the firm’s headquarters. ACE Mentor Chicago focuses on recruiting students of color and female students, which are historically under-represented groups in the construction and design industry and in professional occupations overall. This approach has had impactful results, leading to a 93% minority and 35% female participation rate.

"The ACE Mentor program allows us to give back to the community and introduce students to our professions," says Stacy Horan, who is an associate board member of ACE Mentor Chicago and Sargent & Lundy's ACE program co-lead. "Additionally, many students are unfamiliar with the different disciplines within engineering. Through ACE, they see how the engineering, architecture, and construction industries work together and gain a clearer picture of potential career paths."

The program connects students with industry mentors who guide them through a year-long design project. This journey provides invaluable career insights, networking opportunities, and preparation for college and future careers. Sargent & Lundy mentors actively participate by hosting weekly meetings at the firm’s headquarters and equipping students with real-world experiences.

This year, students were tasked with a design-engineering project to revitalize Boston's shoreline, a challenge relevant to Chicago's own waterfront. They work with flood zones to develop innovative solutions to prevent flooding damage, showcasing their creativity and problem-solving skills while learning and having fun. The project is ongoing but will culminate in a presentation at the Illinois Institute of Technology, offering the students a platform to showcase their work.

"ACE is about more than just mentorship. It embodies the cultivation of meaningful relationships and the advancement of deserving students' education," says Horan, who has been mentoring since 2006. "Students gain invaluable industry knowledge and connections, while we learn from their fresh perspectives and enthusiasm."

Sargent & Lundy's partnership with ACE Mentor Chicago is an investment in the future. By nurturing young talent and promoting diversity in STEM, the firm is helping build a brighter future for both the company and the communities it serves.

ACE Mentor Chicago Fun Facts:

  • Sargent & Lundy is represented by staff on both the Board of Directors and Associate Board for the ACE Mentor Chicago chapter.
  • Sargent & Lundy has participated as a mentoring firm since the 2010-2011 ACE program year.
  • In 2023 alone, ACE Mentor Chicago awarded $240,000 in various scholarships and secured 25 paid internship spots, including one at Sargent & Lundy.
  • In 2024, Sargent & Lundy will offer several paid internship opportunities to ACE students to provide valuable, real-world experience and networking opportunities with industry professionals and college interns.
  • Since its founding in 2000, the Chicago chapter has impacted the lives of over 3,000 students from 80 Chicagoland high schools.
  • In 2022 Sargent & Lundy hired an alumnus of the program, Moises Rangel, as a full-time employee. He is now an ACE mentor himself.

Thank you to our 2023-2024 ACE team mentors: Andrea Burrell, Stacy Horan (co-lead), Ashley McKeithen, Elvin Moy, Moises Rangel, Yasunari Sakuma, Sam Schiavitti, Kevin Schreiber (co-lead).

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