Civil Engineer Bridget McFaul was one of those students.
ACE features prominently in her career journey as she went from ACE participant and student to Coughlin Porter Lundeen intern, then to full-time employee and active ACE mentor.
Growing up, Bridget always liked math and art. She thought she’d grow up to be a real estate agent or a math teacher until discovering architecture. In high school, there aren’t elective classes for “pre-architecture,” so she took STEM classes like physics and AP computer science.
“ACE offers high school students a unique opportunity to learn what the design industry is and how each discipline contributes to the success of a project. Without ACE, I don’t know if I would have found civil engineering, and if I did, it wouldn’t have been as an undergraduate college student. I want to give high school students, specifically female-identifying students and students of color, hope that they can be successful in the design industry.”
At Holy Names Academy in Seattle, Bridget was a very involved high school student who didn’t think she could add one more thing to her schedule. But with ACE, she discovered she could do just that. “We met every other week for a couple hours and I remember each session being different from the last and fun,” says Bridget. “I was able to meet others interested in the same things as I, and meet mentors who were who I wanted to be when I grew up. I was literally staring into the future.”
“At my first ACE meeting, as each of the mentors introduced themselves, I distinctly remember one who stood out. Not only because she was one of the few women in the row, but because she had participated in ACE as a high school student. She was a tangible example of how the program worked and I had the thought, “Wow! Wouldn’t it be cool if I could do the same thing!”
When applying to undergraduate programs, Bridget chose schools that had an architecture program. Well, all except one – the one she ultimately attended and graduated from, Gonzaga University. Instead of studying architecture, she graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. She attributes this selection to her experience as a high school student in the ACE Mentor Program.