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Three students in the South-Doyle High School ACE Mentor Program of America

Students at Knoxville’s South-Doyle High School are exploring careers in architecture, construction science, and engineering this year as part of a new mentorship program founded locally by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Architecture and Design, the UT Institute of Agriculture’s construction science program, and UT’s Tickle College of Engineering.

Launched earlier this fall, the program is the first ACE Mentor Program of America affiliate in the greater Knoxville area. South-Doyle is the first area high school to adopt the program.

“This program connects UT with high school students in our community in a new way and gives hands-on experience in three critical fields,” said Scott Poole, dean of the College of Architecture and Design. “UT is committed to serving our communities and making an impact in the state of Tennessee.”

The program is led on site by Jeff Bryant, a career and technical education teacher at South-Doyle. A dozen students across all grade levels meet daily with Bryant and mentors from local architecture, construction, and engineering firms.

“This is much more than a lecture experience,” Bryant said. “Our students are learning by doing, and our mentors are guiding them as they learn the entire process of designing and building a project. This year, students will design concepts for a three-business commercial space on an empty lot near south Knoxville. Because of the ACE program, students will learn architecture, construction, and engineering principles and be more prepared for jobs or college.”

In addition to gaining exposure to careers and real-world experience, participating students receive scholarships for college. In November 2019, the inaugural scholarship for the greater Knoxville program was established by A. Gordon Heins III, president and chairman of A. G. Heins Company. Scholarships will be awarded to South-Doyle students in spring 2020.

Students in the South-Doyle High School ACE Mentor Program with teacher Jeff Bryant (back row) and mentor Cara Knapp, principal, oysk3 architects (center).

The program is overseen by a board of directors representing the university and business leaders across all three industries. More information is available here.



Brian Canever (865-974-0937,

Amanda Johnson (865-974-6401,