There is a program called ACE which we (Chicago Public Schools) partner with to try to get students to participate. This year 90 of our students participated in once weekly afterschool mentorship with professional mentors from some of the biggest and best architecture, construction and engineering firms. these firms range from Turner construction, Bovis Lend Lease, Perkins + Wil, OWPP etc. I went to their final presentation a week or so and was blown away by the quality of work. This year the 5 teams worked on a master plan for the olympic village if chicago were to be chosen. These presentations were complete with physical models, 3-D models, analysis, drafted drawings etc. ACE holds an annual luncheon to raise funds for scholarships for the youth that participate and the participating firms often offer internships to students over the summer. I was so impressed by the work that this organization is doing....and I couldn't help but wonder...why an organization like NOMA doesn't have something like this. Maybe they do and I just don't know about it. But this seems to be a key factor in increasing the interest of students of color in architecture...hands on experience, personal relationships and tangible rewards (dollars for education and employment). There's no reason for 'us' to be complaining about underrepresentation in the profession if 'we' aren't doing anything about it. i'm making it my business to try to connect with NOMA on this and further more, the AIA diversity committee when those nominations come around again this summer!


Anonymous kole said...

I wish I had read this before posting part II on my site. Good job, keep asking the tough questions.


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