Overton High School students experience future careers in ACE Mentor Program

P1080545 "I want to be an engineer," said Natjha Johnson, a senior at John Overton High School. "I heard so many good things about this program through my teacher and I wanted to give it a try. Being in this program reassures me that I can do it."

Johnson is one of a group of students from John Overton High School participating in the ACE Mentor Program, a national program that pairs high school students interested in careers in architecture, construction and engineering with professionals in each field. The program exposes students to all three professions with the goal of helping them determine their future career path.

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During their most recent meeting, the students visited Earl Swensson Associates, Inc. (ESa), a Nashville-based architecture firm that has designed numerous buildings in Nashville and across the country  - including the iconic AT&T Building in downtown Nashville.

The students were given a tour of ESa, where they learned about the structure and job responsibilities within the company and experienced the different work spaces in an architecture office.

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"I've learned that there are different pathways in engineering," said Johnson about the ACE Mentor Program. "I've broadened my horizons too. Going on that tour makes me even consider being an architect. I've learned that I have more options."

Since the beginning of the school year, the students have met with their group of mentors twice a month, learning about each mentor's profession and and using the knowledge they've gained to work on a year-long project.

The group selected resilience as the topic for their project. With the guidance of their mentors, the students are designing an apartment building with features that would help it withstand a natural disaster.

At the end of the year, the students will present their project at a banquet where they will compete against other local ACE Mentor groups for college scholarships.