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STV Structural Engineer Takes a Journey with the ACE Mentor Program

Oct 27, 2023
Elizabeth Lisk

Elizabeth Lisk, P.E., a structural engineer within STV’s buildings group, has had a remarkable journey through the ACE (Architecture Construction Engineering) Mentor Program, a no-cost after-school program that introduces high school students to careers in the design and construction industry. Over the past 10 years, Lisk has transitioned from a protégé to a mentor, as well as from an intern to a full-time employee at STV. Her story is a testament to both her personal growth and our firm’s commitment to nurturing young talent.

“Students are often told that they are good at math and science and should become engineers, but not many of them know what engineering is,” Lisk said. “Participating in the program offers them a first glimpse into what we do.”

Lisk’s long-standing involvement with ACE was recently spotlighted in the pages of Engineering News-Record’s ACE Mentor Program Yearbook. The article demonstrates the importance of STV’s involvement with organizations like ACE while also underscoring the vitality of mentoring the next generation of professionals.

Born and raised in Queens, Lisk discovered the ACE Mentor Program in her junior year of high school through her cousin. Intrigued, she promptly signed up, becoming a part of the Greater New York Chapter and attending the program at STV’s New York office, under the guidance of Jeff Messinger, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, vice president and senior engineering operations manager.

“I was unsure if I wanted to pursue architecture or structural engineering,” Lisk said. “What attracted me to STV was that it’s a full-service firm offering a range of disciplines all in one place. The STV mentors’ presentations created a comprehensive curriculum that I found really engaging and enjoyable, but the structural lessons in particular resonated with me.”

Returning to STV as an ACE protégé during her senior year, Lisk’s dedication ultimately led to her receiving an ACE scholarship, supporting her college studies. Messinger and Lisk stayed in touch during her college years. As he noticed her growing interest in structural engineering, he introduced her to the firm’s structural engineering group, leading to her eventual full-time employment upon graduating and facilitating her transition from protégé to mentor.

STV’s New York office participates in the ACE Mentor Program hosting up to 30 high school students for two hours every week. The program, starting each year in late October, guides students through a mock project covering all disciplines and phases, fostering creativity and teamwork.

STV partners with Columbia University for this endeavor, giving students a tour of the campus and selecting an imaginary project within the university setting. Mentors provide basic parameters and guidance while allowing students to explore their imaginative solutions. The program culminates with student presentations in front of a board of judges at the end of the school year.

Within the ACE Mentor Program of Greater New York, the largest chapter in the country with over 1,500 student participants and a robust network of more than 700 mentors across 45 mentor teams, STV stands out as a frontrunner. Our firm proudly boasts nearly 30 mentors actively engaged, marking the largest number of mentors from a single organization.

“Being an ACE mentor is super fun,” Lisk shared, highlighting the rewarding experience of mentoring high school students. “Every week, it reinvigorates you and reminds you why you’re doing this job.”