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the Art and Architecture Building

Ava Davis, a senior at Knoxville’s South-Doyle High School, was announced as the recipient of a national ACE Mentor Program award, the CMiC Allen Berg Memorial Scholarship, earlier this month. For two years, Davis has participated in the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Knoxville, which was founded by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and taught at South-Doyle by Jeff Bryant.

Ava-Davis-headshot-scaled-1“I’ve always been an artistic person and love to create things,” Davis said. “I was asked by [Bryant] if I would be interested in joining the ACE Mentor Program. I had never considered architecture as a career, but ACE has totally changed my career path. Now I’m definitely majoring in architecture,” she said.

Davis and her mother were surprised at the announcement by ACE Mentor Program President Diana Eidenshink and national and regional directors during a Zoom call regarding her application for the scholarship. The $8,000 award will sponsor Davis’s career path as a student in UT’s College of Architecture and Design.

“This is not just about the money,” Eidenshink said. “This is life-changing for our students.”

In addition to financial support, the award includes a sponsor from the ACE Mentor Program who will provide guidance for Davis and assistance in obtaining summer internships throughout her time at UT.

ACE is an after-school program that introduces participating local high school students to careers in architecture, construction management, engineering, and related disciplines. In 2019, the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Knoxville was formed by the College of Architecture and Design with two UT partners—the UT Institute of Agriculture Construction Science Program and the Tickle College of Engineering—as well as local professional firms. That year, South-Doyle became the first school in the Knoxville area to host an ACE program.

The ACE Mentor Program of America was founded in 1994. Each year, the national organization provides about $2.5 million in scholarships to ACE participants. The ACE Program of Greater Knoxville also awards scholarships to students in participating high schools.

Today, more than 8,000 students across the country take part in ACE. Mentored by professionals from local firms, they are able to work directly with architects, interior architects, landscape architects, engineers, construction managers and tradespeople to gain exposure to these career paths.


Amanda Johnson (865-974-6401,