2020 Outstanding Mentor – Jennifer Yun-Fullen

ACE Mentor Program of Greater Philadelphia is pleased to announce Jennifer Yun-Fullen as the 2020 Outstanding Mentor of the Year.

Jennifer YunJennifer Yun-Fullen has been an active member of the ACE Mentor Program since she was a junior in High School. She began her experiences with ACE as a student in the Central PA Affiliate, returned to become a mentor in the Greater Philadelphia Affiliate and is currently a Team Leader for Team JKRP. Jennifer is admired by her students, colleagues, and other ACE mentors for her passion, innovation, and dedication.

As a child, she was always interested in drawing and thought about pursuing a career in the fine arts or fashion design industries. Her father encouraged her to look into Architecture which put her on the path to discovering the benefit of the ACE Mentor Program.

Jennifer remained in Hershey High School’s ACE program through graduation and was awarded an ACE Scholarship for her exceptional efforts. She then attended Temple University for her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Architecture. Upon graduation from Temple, Jennifer was hired at JKRP Architects in Philadelphia as a designer and recently became a Project Coordinator for the firm.

Shortly after joining JKRP, she was approached about joining her colleagues and becoming a mentor in the ACE Mentor Program. Given her history with the program, and the desire to impart her knowledge and experiences to the future of the design and construction industry, Jennifer enthusiastically agreed.

JKRP’s team was the first in the Greater Philadelphia affiliate to focus solely on the underrepresented population of women in the design and construction industry. For Jennifer, an advocate for women in the A/E/C industry, this focus was ideal. When given the opportunity to step into the Team Leader role the following year, she did not hesitate and brought a renewed energy to the team.

“My high school ACE team was male-dominated. Being a part of this lack of diversity was challenging and, at times, intimidating. Joining the all-female JKRP ACE team allowed me the chance to provide young women who are interested in pursuing a career in the A/C/E fields with a comfortable, supportive learning experience. Being a woman in these male dominated careers offers many challenges, but being in a space where there were many professionals who provide guidance and advice to our mentees was eye-opening for them.”

Jennifer has invigorated her team’s mentors with a passion for working with the young women who have consistently requested to return to JKRP’s team. Realizing the importance of the mentoring relationships she is building with her students, Jennifer is always flexible and innovative in her session activities. Her willingness to adapt programming and educate to her students’ interests has consistently proven to be a successful formula and, as a result, she has become an exceptional role model for the young ladies with whom she interacts.

It is clear that Jennifer’s passion for providing a comfortable, supportive, and welcoming environment where young women feel empowered to share their ideas, opinions, and interests is valued by the students and mentors alike. Her team’s sessions are consistently lively – students are smiling, engaged in their learning, and actively participating in thoughtfully planned activities. She consistently achieves her goal of exposing the young women on her team the opportunities available to them within the design and construction industry.

In the 2018-2019 programming year, as the team was working through their carefully outlined schedule, the topic of theatre design was broached as JKRP was working on an expansion of the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. The students on the team responded to this topic so enthusiastically and with such excitement that the mentors realized that this teaching opportunity could not go unaddressed. They began to focus specifically on the concept of theatre design with their students and spent the rest of the year concentrating on this theme.

Using the Walnut Street Theatre project as a design concept, the students were introduced to the project’s drawings and construction timeline and were exposed to the real-life applications of theatre design.

Positively responding to her students’ enthusiasm around this topic, Jennifer and her mentoring team adapted their sessions to become an introduction to theatre design including topics on: construction management, bid packages, acoustical engineering, structural engineering, lighting design, set design, and MAT. Jennifer also arranged for tours of a number of Philadelphia theaters so that she could expose her students to various project designs and site considerations.

By the end of the year, students were able to develop concepts for their ideal theatre and present their designs to their teammates. This activity effectively tied-in all of the learning and experiences Jennifer and the other mentors had exposed them to.

We are pleased to nominate Jennifer Yun-Fullen for the ACE Outstanding Mentor Award because she has always accepted each challenge or request from ACE directors, student participants, and mentoring colleagues with eagerness and a willingness to provide her team with the best possible experience.

She is consistently and purposefully engaged with her ACE team and encourages the young women who participate on it to excel and pursue the opportunities available to them within the design and construction industry. Jennifer collaborates and communicates effectively with the other mentors on her team as well as with the ACE directors and school champions – these assets have proven to be invaluable to the Greater Philadelphia affiliate. Jennifer is a strong, supportive, dedicated role model with unwavering professionalism and is a tremendous benefit to the ACE Mentor Program!

“My ACE mentors helped me to understand what to expect as a professional in an A/E/C field and encouraged me to see my future self having a career as an architect. I began to visualize the possibility of working with other design professionals and being recognized for my ideas and contributions. I couldn’t be more happy with my decision to pursue a career in the design and construction industry!”

2020 Outstanding Mentor

Melissa Raffel
Author: Melissa Raffel