Know Your Worth

Julian Owens was an exemplary student in the Clemson University architecture undergraduate program. He co-founded the university’s chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students, became a founding brother of the Aristobulus Chapter of Alpha Rho Chi, a professional co-educational fraternity for architecture and design students, and won leadership awards and grants along the way. Yet, when he was accepted into the graduate School of Architecture program, one of the first comments he heard was, “I’m surprised you got in.” And that was just one of many examples of low expectations Julian had encountered all his life.

These experiences inspired him to found Pledge of Excellence, a non-profit support system that mentors minority and low-income students. The organization’s goal is to instill high self-expectations and self-worth in participating students, equipping them to avoid self-doubt when others voice pre-conceived opinions about their abilities. Ultimately, Julian envisions Pledge of Excellence fostering the development of students from elementary school all the way through high school graduation, and offering scholarship opportunities.

He explains, “Kids need to hear from the mouths of others, as well as their own, that they are excellent individuals who are worthy of success.” Julian’s personal passion aligns with Page’s professional goal of raising awareness of and interest in STEM careers among students who are not typically exposed to or discouraged from pursuing them. Page is proud of Julian’s community engagement and the media coverage that Pledge of Excellence has received.

To read an article about Julian and Pledge of Excellence in mint mag, a digital magazine sharing experiences and expertise of young minority professionals, click here and scroll to page 12.