NINE Scholarships Awarded at 15th Annual ACE Mentor Program of Rhode Island (ACE RI) Networking Fundraiser Event

Sponsors, mentors and scholarship recipients came together at the Pavilion at Grace Church on May 23rd to celebrate the accomplishments of the three sections of the ACE Mentor Program of Rhode Island. In addition, Chairman Carlos Neves presented nine local high school seniors from this year's group of students with scholarships totaling $29,000 to support their pursuit of a degree in one of the A/C/E fields.

After networking and breakfast, guests were seated for the main program where Chairman Carlos Neves kicked things off with an introduction to the ACE program in RI. Carlos provided a history of the growth of the program and an update on where it stands today before turning things over to the design and construction team who led the incredible expansion project at the Grace Church to create the Pavilion in which the event was hosted.

After hearing from the design professionals, it was time to hear from the students themselves. Students from the West Bay returning student group presented their project to re-develop an abandoned amusement park that was submitted to the 2019 CIRT National Design Competition. The Providence returning student group then shared their proposed improvements for a stretch of river-front park in Providence that was also submitted to the competition. Finally, first-year students from the NRI group showed those in attendance many of the things they learned throughout their first year.

The final speaker of the day was ACE RI alum, former scholarship recipient, and current mentor Edwin Montas. Edwin reminded everyone of the opportunities the ACE program provided him and how it helped him find a focus and steer him to the career he now enjoys - a good reminder for those who have been involved in ACE since Edwin was a high school student and a great motivation for the students in attendance who hope to follow in his footsteps.

In addition to the scholarships handed out from the support of the local ACE sponsor firms. ACE Regional Director Katie Barawski was also on hand to present Lily Gucfa (a three-year member of the Providence group) a $40,000 CMiC-Allen Berg Memorial Scholarship. Lily was one of 25 ACE students across the country to receive between $10,000 and $40,000 and one of only a few to receive the maximum scholarship. Katie also presented two long-time ACE RI leaders, Jim Barnes and Lance Aleksiewicz with a life-time service award for their continued dedication to supporting the growth of local high-school students.

Before delivering the closing remarks, Carlos presented nine local high school seniors with $2,000-$4,000 scholarships to help defer the costs of a higher education.

  • Isabella Bernard, LaSalle Academy

  • Katherine Cretella, East Greenwich HS

  • Chase Goulet, LaSalle Academy

  • Vidal Rodriguez, Blackstone Academy Charter School

  • Sophia DeCurtis, LaSalle Academy

  • Aleksander Pelletier, Somerset Berkley Regional HS

  • Jalen Williams, LaSalle Academy

  • Kayce Carter, Cranston East HS

  • Clara Cruz, St. Mary Academy – Bay View

The ACE Mentor Program of RI would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of time, space and materials donated by New England Institute of Technology and The Rhode Island School of Design. In addition, ACE RI would like to thank all of the firms who continue to help support the program reach its goals as well as our financial sponsors.

About ACE Mentor Program

Founded in 2003, the ACE Mentor Program of Rhode Island (ACE RI) is one of 74 affiliates in the nationwide ACE (Architecture,  Construction, and Engineering) Mentor Program. It annually engages 10,000 high school students in a free after-school program lasting 15 sessions. Volunteer industry professionals mentor students and lead them through a hands-on simulation of designing and constructing a project. Since its start in 1994, ACE has awarded $19 million in scholarships to help its students with post-secondary education and skilled crafts training. ACE is supported at the national and local levels by major companies in the integrated construction industry. For more information visit

 ACE RI celebrated it’s 15th year of service to the community in Rhode Island this year. In that time, they have mentored more than 1,000 students and awarded over $130,000 in scholarships to high school students wishing to learn about and pursue careers in architecture, construction, and engineering. ACE RI is a free mentoring program open to all high school students. Meetings are held once a week after school in Providence, Pawtucket, and East Greenwich from October to March during the school year.