Mentoring the Designers of the Future

At KSS, we firmly believe that the architects of today should help cultivate the designers of the future. Many of our design professionals engage in teaching and mentoring, and community service is an integral part of KSS’s ethos.

At Hightstown High School, KSS’s Alicia Weaver leads the ACE Mentoring Program, an initiative that connects students interested in architecture, construction, and engineering with professionals working in the fields. Through ACE, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in learning about careers in ACE fields and take part in a semester-long design project that mirrors the design process.


In October, the group visited a construction site for “Campus Town,” a mixed-use development spearheaded by The College of New Jersey and the PRC Group. Turner Construction led the tour, during which students had the opportunity to explore the construction site, which is to become a 278,000 square foot development featuring housing and amenities to accommodate 446 students.

Several KSS team members and consultants, such as Langan Engineering, help to supplement sessions and offer stories of their experience and expertise. Recently, the students performed a site survey for Rise Community Services Partnership, the organization that manages the local food pantry, as part of an ongoing project to evaluate Rise’s space & program and conduct a feasibility study. The students are hoping their work will be used to help fund a pro bono renovation of the space.


“Being in the ACE Mentor Program has inspired me to become an architect,” says Lauren, a student participant. “It allows me to see behind-the-scenes construction and apply that knowledge learned to future building designs.”

Another participant, Max, says “By participating in ACE, I am able to get a small taste of what the job of an actual architect or engineer would be, and so it helps me to understand the general expectations for jobs”.


What’s next for the high schoolers? Upcoming programming will educate students on understanding the basics of structural engineering and civil engineering and the early stages of developing program options for Rise. 

What do we at KSS love most about mentoring? Says Alicia, “Being a mentor takes serious commitment and responsibility, but the value gained is immeasurable. As a mentor, I have the opportunity to share my passion for architecture and help build a foundation of knowledge for our students, but what’s most worthwhile is seeing how even a little guidance unleashes so much potential.”

To learn more about ACE, visit