Executive Director

Meet Kristen Hurley, ACE’s new Executive Director.  Read more below.                                 

ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston Announces Kristen Hurley as the Organizations New Executive Director

Boston, Mass. (June 12, 2024)

ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston (ACE), the free after-school program run by award-winning design and construction professionals with the goal of encouraging high school students to pursue careers in the architecture, construction, and engineering industries, is proud to announce the new executive director. Effective immediately, Kristen Hurley will assume all roles and responsibilities as the non-profit organizations’ executive director. 

Hurley is a highly experienced professional with over two decades in the non-profit sector, specializing in maximizing business growth. Her leadership skills have consistently driven success in various organizations including the Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology where she spent over 5 years leading partnership initiatives, client relations, and innovative business strategies, working as a member of the senior management team. Prior, she spent 16 years at WGBH, managing partnerships and launching public media management. Currently, Kristen is an active board member for the Browning the Green Space organization, further demonstrating her ability to drive growth and impact in the non-profit space.

“I am truly honored and humbled to join the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston in a leadership role,” says Kristen Hurley, Executive Director of ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston. “The opportunity to contribute to an organization dedicated to shaping the next generation of leaders in architecture, construction, and engineering is inspiring and I look forward to utilize my experience and passion to empower students, foster innovation, and drive positive change within the diverse community at ACE.”

Through practical, project-based, hands-on explorations, ACE students work collaboratively and creatively to design innovative solutions to real world problems. With professional guidance by industry mentors who are full-time employees of construction, design and engineering firms, students develop the professionalism, teamwork, and collaboration that the industry requires. During the 15-week program, the students design a hypothetical project in order to learn about each discipline and take part in activities such as Trade Day, construction site visits, and special events with partners such as the National Organization of Minority Architects. 

Each year, the project changes, exposing students to new design challenges. ACE also awards college scholarships to seniors who plan to study in these fields. This year, ACE awarded a record high of $250,000 in scholarships. 

For more information the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston and how a student can get involved, please visit

About ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston:

The ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston (ACE) is an affiliate of the ACE Mentor Program of America. Since its founding in 2007, more than 700 Boston-area students have participated in the free, after-school design program to learn about architecture, construction management, and engineering. Seventy-five per cent of the students are people of color, and 49% are young women. ACE has awarded $1,288,500 in college scholarships to 214 high school seniors over the years. ACE’s alumni have been hired in full-time roles at Turner Construction, SGH Engineering, Gilbane Building Company, Schneider Electric, Shawmut Construction, and more.


The ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston is searching for its next executive director! Qualifications include:

  • 5+ years at the program management level or above in a nonprofit setting, or commensurate experience.
  • A clear passion for youth development.
  • Expertise in cultivating networks and partnerships across like-minded organizations, preferably in education/mentorship arenas
  • Facility with at least online marketing platform and one CRM/fundraising application.

Interested? Download the full role description.

Position Closing Date: April 26, 2024





Reed Cochran

Interim Executive Director

Meet Reed Cochran, ACE’s new interim Executive Director. Read more about the leadership transition and the upcoming executive search process below.

ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston Announces Leadership Transition

Boston, Mass. (January 1, 2024)

ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston is excited to announce that Reed Cochran will step into the role of interim executive director while ACE conducts a search for its next permanent E.D.. After four years serving as executive director, Jen Fries has decided to leave her role to pursue other opportunities.

Cochran is a practiced nonprofit executive who specializes in leadership transitions. She takes pride in piloting agencies “from here to there” in an ordered fashion, keeping operations humming while the board stays strategically focused. Her engagements include Somerville’s Door2Door Transportation, The Children’s Museum of Memphis and Ballet Memphis. In prior endeavors, Cochran has been a high school Spanish teacher in her home state of Mississippi and a high-tech management consultant in San Francisco. She earned a BA in History at Brown University and an MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School.

“After four years with ACE, I am pleased to be leaving the organization in a position of strength. ACE is attracting more financial and volunteer support than ever before, and as a result, we are serving more students at more after-school locations than ever,” says outgoing leader Fries. “It was particularly gratifying when we hit the milestone of more than one million dollars in scholarships awarded by ACE to our high school seniors. I know that with Reed’s leadership, the future is bright for ACE.”

ACE’s President Janine Byrne of PCA notes that during Fries’ tenure, ACE more than tripled its annual fundraising, adopted a new strategic plan, and added two new program sites. “As our first Executive Director, Jen’s leadership allowed ACE to create structures and systems that have allowed us to set new records for scholarships awarded, high schools reached, and students served. We are grateful to Jen for her work at ACE and wish her the best in her new endeavors.”


Scholarships for the ACE class of 2024

ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston logo. Application now open: apply today for an ACE Scholarship.

Scholarship application open

High school seniors from the ACE Class of 2024 are now invited to begin your applications for a college, university, or trade school scholarship from the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston.


The history

The ACE Mentor Program has given out more than one million dollars in scholarships to our students over the years. Our affiliate intends to distribute more than $200,000 in scholarships this year.

But much depends on you, the student, completing your application and submitting letters of support and your transcripts by February 9, 2024 at 11:59 PM. Don’t wait to get started, particularly in requesting your letters of support.  Learn the details of how to apply here:


Learn more





Thanks to you

On June 22, 2023, we came together for our 9th annual ACE Networking Event, raising $636,500 to support ACE Mentor Program’s critical mission. We are grateful to Secretary of Labor Lauren Jones for her kind remarks and her recognition that students need mentors to figure out how to join our professions.  Thank you to Boylston Properties for being our presenting sponsor again, and for providing the fuel to allow ACE to grow. Your leadership has brought so many other firms into our orbit.


$636,500 raised to accelerate ACE Mentor’s growth.

400 attendees

Well, 399 to be exact. You came, you networked, and your made it fun to do good.

168 sponsors

One hundred and sixty-eight sponsor firms came together to bring A/E/C opportunities to our students.

1 Mission

Our lodestar, our fixed point we move toward, is to bring more young people into carees in architecture, engineering, design, and CM, for a brighter future for our industry.


Thank you to our sponsors






ACE Student Showcase 2023


Hurricane and flooding

The design challenge asked students to create plans for a humanitarian response camp after a hurricane in Boston. The camps needed to be buildable within one week of the disaster, and to provide sleeping, eating, medical, gathering, and other requirements. The camp designs used an existing park or public space as the setting.

Innovative solutions

Over 15 weeks, the students refined their understanding of architecture, engineering, and construction management. They created designs that were sensitive to the trauma experienced during the disaster, and with their mentors, they created visions for the needs of the survivors. The students then presented their designs at the Student Showcase on March 8, 2023 at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Scroll down to see photos from the event.

Also, you can see the final presentations created by each team here:









ACE is proud to have awarded $210,000 in scholarships to the Class of 2023. We wish them the best on their college, university, and trade school studies.

“The ACE Mentor program helped me build my confidence and improve my communication and collaboration skills. As we worked together on group projects, my mentors encouraged me to be an active
participant, such as presenting my team’s questions to other teams and offering suggestions
for improvement.”

Scholarship recipient, 2023

  • Presenting Sponsor Boylston Properties


Janine Byrne and Mike Harris accept the BSA Commonwealth Award. Photo: Paige McWhorter

The Boston Society for Architecture’s Commonwealth Award was created to recognize an outstanding influence on our built environment or our awareness of it. The Society bestowed the BSA Commonwealth Award upon ACE Mentor Program at its January 18th gala. Mike Harris, our President, and Janine Byrne, our Vice President, accepted the award for ACE. Read more here.

ACE interns and BPS educators listen to a speaker at Autodesk.

The Boston Opportunity Agenda (BOA) is a public/ private partnership that works to increase dramatically the pace and scale of change in education for all children in Boston, with a focus on students who experience the least access to successful pathways.The BOA recently highlighted ACE Mentor Program and its collaboration with Autodesk, Nitsch, Elkus Manfredi, and Gilbane to provide paid summer internship opportunities for our students. We are so grateful to our employers, and particularly Kellyanne Mahoney at Autodesk, for making these summer opportunities possible for our students, and for the recognition of the potential of this work.Read more about the collaboration here.