QUESTION 1: Tell me a little bit more about what the ACE Mentor Program is and what interested you in becoming a mentor?
Justin Bose: The ACE Mentor Program of America, established in 1994, is a free after-school program designed to empower high school students in workforce development. By connecting students with knowledgeable professionals from the design and construction industry, ACE Mentor offers inclusive opportunities and plays a pivotal role in closing the skills gap, providing continuous mentorship from high school to full-time employment, and creating a supportive and educational journey for aspiring individuals.
I was very intrigued at the opportunity to give back, especially for a job I am passionate about. That coupled with the school, Mission Valley ROP, being my former school/class made it very appealing and felt like a full circle moment.
QUESTION 2: Reflecting on your experience as a mentor in the ACE Mentor Program, what insights have you gained about contributing to a more inclusive and diverse workforce in the industry?
Justin Bose: Inclusion is at the heart of everything that we do and it is great to see the many opportunities to share that vision in this industry. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed and appreciated during this experience so far is the diverse talent, experiences, and perspectives of the other mentors and guest speakers. Each individual comes to the table with a wealth of knowledge they each have gained throughout their career. It is a great opportunity to provide more insight and visibility into the A/E/C industry and the career paths one can take.
QUESTION 3: What collaborative skills have you developed and how has your own learning journey shaped your approach to fostering collaboration within the program?
Justin Bose: I see my learning journey as an ongoing process and have been learning skills around communication and collaboration styles with other professionals of varying expertise and background levels. The biggest learning takeaway has been to not hold assumptions about what level of knowledge someone may or may not have based on their background or title. Each person brings valuable insight and perspective which in turn creates a much stronger project in the end.
QUESTION 4: What strategies and or insights have you found most effective in engaging students in learning more about the structural engineering field?
Justin Bose: So far, I’ve been taking a more hands-off approach in our group activities by allowing the students to work and try to solve problems on their own. I find this helps them in developing their critical thinking skills. My role is to be there as support and identify specific questions to ask them or provide small suggestions to point them in the right/intended direction. I don’t necessarily want to give them the answers to problems right away and instead like having small open discussions with them for them to draw upon their conclusions and create an answer on their own.
QUESTION 5: Based on your experience as a mentor in the ACE Mentor Program, what key advice or tips would you offer to high school students aspiring to enter the field of structural engineering? How can they best prepare for a successful career path in this dynamic industry?
Justin Bose: I feel that this type of educational opportunity goes beyond specifically structural engineering. Regardless of the type of industry one decides to enter, my best piece of advice for all students is to just be a sponge and absorb as much information as possible, ask lots of questions, and stay curious.
Learn more about the ACE Mentor Program – https://www.acementor.org/