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San Antonio Student Discusses Participation in ACE Mentor Program

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The following is a blog written by a student at John Jay Science and Engineering Academy in San Antonio, who took part in the A.C.E. (Architecture, Construction, and Engineering) Mentor Program, which mentors and inspires high school students to pursue careers in design and construction.

My name is Tristan Brown and during my junior year, I applied to a program called A.C.E. (Architecture, Construction, and Engineering) Mentor Program. We worked with professionals in the fields expressed to complete the objective given. Our objective was to take an abandoned site and redesign it to benefit society by making a modern complex with diverse purposes to accommodate the people. I was assigned to the Architecture team which consisted of all seniors except for me. Our job was to make possible designs for what the new site would look like, decide on the locations of the criteria we had to meet, and design how the buildings were going to appear. Other teams included the Construction team and the Mechanical, Electric and Plumbing (MEP) engineering team. We met every other week during the Fall then the meetings increased in frequency during the Spring. The mentors along with our academic advisor, Mr. Rivera, gave us much insight in the fields and really helped me secure my decision in pursuing architecture. We took field trips to established firms like CNG Engineering and Alamo Architects and different sites to gain a firm understanding of how these businesses operate. We were able to witness how the firms and construction sites operate and interact with each other. These visits were definitely eye opening experiences.

Deliverables turned in for this year long project were a large model of the redesigned site, two large presentation boards, and a graduate-level presentation that received very high marks from a committee of well-respected individuals. Another accomplishment of our program was the Texas Senate recognition, spearheaded by Senator Leticia Van de Putte. The program left such an imprint on me that I applied once again this year to participate and was accepted. I am so grateful for the mentors dedicating their time to this program and contributing to the next generation of engineers and architects. This phenomenal program gave me experience and exposure in what it’s like to work in this field and made all the difference to me. The A.C.E. Mentor Program has definitely been one of the most influential parts of my academic career.

I’m currently enrolled in John Jay Science and Engineering Academy. This school continues to challenge me to this day, and I enjoy that. I balance a difficult regimen of school, varsity tennis, and work, which has limited my freedom, but in the end I believe it is all worth it. I have gained experience in not only sacrificing pleasures for necessities, but also in time management. I have had to create a new schedule based on sporadic changes in all three aspects that control my life. I try my very best to follow the schedule I have set out so I can obtain the best outcome for my endeavors. I feel that time management is extremely crucial in the field of architecture because you will typically be carrying more than one project at a time and they all will have deadlines that you are required to meet. You will also have other tasks at hand that you have to juggle while completing your normal duties which can seem overwhelming to many. And yet the job description does not deter me from my goal.

Within the Science and Engineering Academy, there are many programs and classes you can take to direct you to the field of interest you want to pursue. One of the Academy’s classes is the Engineering Design and Presentation course which covers such an enormous amount of information and life tools to be used in the fields of engineering and architecture. This class extends to an Advance Engineering Design and Presentation, then Engineering Design and Problem Solving which I am currently taking. Mr. Rivera, a former engineer himself, with decades of experience under his belt, is the professor of this crucial class. He has passed down so much knowledge to not only I, but anyone who has participated in his class. We have covered basics such as a correct hand shake to speaking technique to making a resume. Thanks to him, I am fluent in Revit, Autodesk Inventor, and AutoCAD which are used in architecture and engineering. I have also made great strides in my communication skills and have excelled in my presentations. We have also covered Statics this year, a principle of most engineering fields. I am extremely grateful to the work he has put in as a teacher and as a mentor to me. This class has been a monumental step towards my passion.

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