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In January 2017, the ACE Mentor Program expanded to Omaha, providing local high school students with a gateway into the architecture, construction and engineering professions with hands-on project experience. Professionals within the industry serve as mentors for the student groups as they work together to design a project in the community.

E&A’s Doug Walter, a civil engineering project manager, is in his second year of mentoring at Omaha North High School. He works with a group of seven students, generally once a week for 90 minutes. This year Doug’s group is designing a restaurant; last year, it was an addition to Norris Middle School.

He first heard about the program at an informational meeting. After signing up, he went through mentor training and began working with students in a pre-engineering class at North High.

“It has been great to explain an engineering concept to the students and then see them apply these new concepts while designing their project,” said Doug.

The students work on specific aspects of their project, based upon their interests. Doug helps the students with civil engineering-related items like parking lots, grading, drainage, zoning and setbacks. Other mentors focus on aspects related to their own fields, like architecture and electrical engineering.

“It is very satisfying to share my experience and help the students get an in-depth look at our industry,” said Doug.