On August 12th, 2021, ACE Team 8 student Chanz McIntosh, a 2021 graduate of Fordham Preparatory High School, and an alumnus of DDC’s ACE Mentor Program Team 8 and DDC’s Lunch and Learn Summer Series, received the prestigious I Have A Dream Scholarship. This scholarship awards recipients a $1,500 grant and promotes the idea of students dreaming big regardless of their ethnicity, gender, religion, etc. Chanz is headed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the fall.
Chanz discovered the I Have A Dream Scholarship through the non-profit organization Pearls of Service Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to provide support to communities and organizations that serve women and minorities to enable them to unlock their educational and economic potential. The Pearls of Service Foundation awarded over $160,000 in scholarships in 2020. They provide resources to students who need financial assistance to afford the distinguished colleges they have been accepted to.
“I know I speak for the entire DDC STEAM Team and our ACE Team 8 mentors when I say we are incredibly proud of Chanz. He is a true leader among his peers. He is also witty, kind and not shy about working hard to achieve his goals while also taking on a myriad of challenging tasks. Chanz has a very bright future ahead of him. Rensselaer is fortunate to have him in their freshman class. We have no doubt he will continue to excel in the years to come,” said Deputy Commissioner for STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis.
Applicants were required to submit an essay about their future hopes and dreams. Chanz aspires to become an architect that can help to develop communities and be a mentor to rising architects of color. “I think it’s important to always strive for what you believe in and never be afraid to achieve the seemingly impossible. The DDC STEAM ACE Team 8 Program has been a true inspiration, source of information, and testament to my achievements to date. In addition to having engaging and hands-on mentors, this opportunity has opened up many doors for me. They have provided me and other students with tremendous networking opportunities, ongoing support, letters of recommendation, and continued guidance on our journey to succeed. It is because of these opportunities that I learned of scholarships available for students like myself. Having a great team of mentors has provided me with the support and courage to step out on faith and utilize my artistic gift so that I may pursue my dream of becoming an architect,” stated Chanz McIntosh.
“It’s inspiring to see young African-American men interested in a career like architecture that isn’t as diverse as it could be. Chanz has shown how determined and driven he is to become an architect. He is a very talented young man that I know will go far. I strongly believe in the need to increase diversity in the architecture and engineering fields through the work of the ACE Mentoring Program and the NYC Department of Design and Construction’s STEAM Initiatives unit,” stated Gemelli Briceno, Team Leader of ACE Team 8.
“It has been my pleasure to have been a mentor to Chanz. He is mature and highly motivated. The future holds a lot for him, and I know he will pay it forward by becoming a mentor and will continue to show the skill, drive, and determination it takes to pursue your dreams. Malcolm X said, ‘Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.’ Winning this college scholarship shows me that he is on track and preparing for the future today,” stated Oral Selkridge, ACE Team 8 Mentor, and the Director of Public Buildings at DDC.
DDC STEAM and the ACE Mentor Program aim to expose students to the many career fields in architecture, engineering, and construction management. Scholarship opportunities like the I Have A Dream Scholarship and community-based organizations like the Pearls of Service Foundation allow students from underserved communities the chance to pursue their professional dreams.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc