East, Lincoln Students Earn National Construction Industry Honors

A team comprised of students from East, Lincoln and other central Iowa high schools has earned national honors, finishing first in the Construction Industry Round Table/ACE Mentor Program National Design Competition.

The mission of the ACE Mentor Program is to engage high school students to pursue careers in the integrated construction industry through mentoring; and to support their continued advancement in the industry through scholarships and grants.

The winning team represented the ACE Mentor Program of Central Iowa, and presented their “Modular Reset” design project to a panel of judges this week at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. The team was comprised of students seeking a deeper, more-focused exploration of architecture, construction, and engineering.

Members of the team included Joseph Bahnsen, a senior at East High, and Ross Nickey, a senior at Lincoln High.

Other team members included Nicole Bramow and Sirina Reed of Ankeny, Eric Cole and Katie Smithart of Southeast Polk, and Jordan Hutton and Saketh Undurty of West Des Moines Valley.

The Central Iowa team won the top prize award of $5,000. A team from Frederick, MD finished second and Providence, RI finished third.

The teams were judged their ability to make a coherent, well thought-out, clear presentation on the design/construction approaches within the project’s objectives while being fully responsive to the competition package elements in the challenge/RFP. In the final round, the three teams were judged on two major elements: quality of presentation and competence of the overall entry.

In addition to student team members, professional mentors from local businesses have contributed over 250 hours of volunteer time to help guide the competition team through the design process. These mentors include Josh Ridgely, SVPA Architects; Mike Dean, INVISION Architecture/Planning; Stacie Ellickson-Hastie, Confluence; Jonathan Vaage, Charles Saul Engineering; and Brant Bristow, Tometich Engineering.

The ACE Mentor Program of America, established in 1995 in New York, currently has a presence in over 200 cities across the US, including an affiliate in Des Moines. This year over 8,000 students and almost 5,000 mentors are participating in the program; 70% are minorities and 40% are young women. The ACE Mentor program of America received a 2010 Presidental Award from President Obama for Excellence in Science Math and Engineering Mentoring. For more information on the ACE Mentor Program of America visit http://www.acementor.org/