Drafting by Design, Inc is currently participating in the ACE Mentor Program. “The ACE program helps to mentor high school students and inspires them to pursue careers in design and construction…Our mission is to engage, excite and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, and construction through mentoring and to support their continued advancement in the industry.” (ACE Mentor, 2014, acementor.com). The way the program works is that an employee from a participating company goes to a selected, or assigned, vocational technical high school to mentor the students. Currently in Delaware, the four Vo-Tech High Schools of choice are Hodgson Vocational Technical High School, St. Georges Technical High School, Howard High School of Technology, and DelCastle Technical High School. There are multiple mentors, from different types of companies (ie. construction, structural, civil, mechanical, etc) per each school so that there is a variety in the possible fields of construction per each High School.
Tatiana Galindo, one of our designers, is representing Drafting by Design, as a mentor for Hodgson Vo-Tech. This High School was Tatiana’s school of choice to mentor since she is a former student from there. Tatiana graduated in 2011 from Hodgson Vo-Tech under the “Drafting Design” Program, one of the many different fields of work taught in Hodgson. Every Wednesday, Tatiana and the rest of the mentors, meet with the students participating in the program. The first meeting started on November 11th and will continue to be every Wednesday until March 11th.
During the first two meets, the student are given two construction related “projects” to work on during the meeting. The idea of the two projects are to:
- Create socialization between all of the students
- Have the students learn about team work and coming up with ideas as a group
- Have the students learn how to work with one another
- Have the mentors see what the student are capable of and how well they can take on a challenge
- Create “hands-on” lessons for the students.
The last project consisted of building a cantilever out of 100 Popsicle sticks, hot glue gun, and twenty washers, to serve as weights. The goal of the assignment was to build a cantilever that was at least 12″ tall at the base, have it stretch over the edge of a table, as long as they can build it, and be able to hold two washers at the tip with out the cantilever falling over the edge. The students were divided into five groups and were given twenty minutes to come up with ideas and designs, prior to be allowed to start construction. This encouraged them to learn to always plan ahead and to use their time wisely, similar as how it would be done with any real construction project. Once the twenty minutes were up, and the student felt ready to start building, the construction started! It was interesting, as walking around the room, seeing all of the different ways each group tackled the task at hand. The mentors go around, helping the students with ideas, make them think about the project from a construction point of view, or answering any questions the students may have.
After an hour, students were told to end all construction and to prepare their projects for testing. John Johnson, from Karins and Associates, also the ACE Coordinator for Hodgson, and Melissa Boulden, mentor from MacIntosh Engineering, started testing each cantilever. First, they measure the height of the base, to make sure it measured at least 12″. Then, they measured the span of the cantilever over the edge of the table. Last, to pass the test, Melissa placed two washers at the end of the cantilever and if the cantilever tipped over the edge, it failed. The group with the cantilever that spanned the longest over the edge of the table, was the “winner” and each of the students was awarded a wawa giftcard. Group four was the winner that day with a 46″ long cantilever and having it span 37-1/4″ over the edge of the table. See our gallery below to look at each groups’ progress and final project. On December 17th, the Hodgson ACE group will be visiting University of Delaware’s Dining Hall Project that is currently under construction.