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.