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First Family Member To Attend College Eyes Coming Home

Devin Owen's family has lived on a farm in Lake Toxaway for generations.

His mother Connie's grandfather bought the land. His father James's family traces its roots in Transylvania County to a land grant from Revolutionary War times. Owen is the first in his family to attend college.

After graduating from Rosman High School in 2014, with the help of a Connestee Falls scholarship and other scholarship assistance, he enrolled in Tri-County Technical College in Pendleton, S.C., to establish residency in that state. He completed three semesters there and then transferred to Clemson University. Because Clemson required some courses that he had not taken, he spent a little extra time at Clemson; he graduated with honors in May of 2019. While he was in college, Owen worked part-time while taking courses full-time during the summers to pay for his tuition.

Once he is debt-free he plans to return to his long roots in Transylvania County and make it his home once again.With his degree in environmental engineering, Owen now works for the civil engineering firm of Withers Ravenel in Greensboro designing and upgrading water and sewer lines. Engineering is a good fit for him. Growing up he realized he had a knack for designing and fixing things, and he was always very curious about how the world works. During the summer after he graduated from high school he was employed at Headwaters Outfitters in Rosman, which gave him an opportunity to gain a new appreciation for the Western North Carolina environment and, especially, the rivers. As he explained, he quickly realized, "how easily they could be damaged if we were not good stewards of our natural resources." "Transylvania County and the French Broad River are very unique, and we should be thankful to live in such a wonderful place," Owen added. Owen has one sister, Casandra. She and her husband, Clint McCall, live in Balsam Grove. His parents still live on the farm in Lake Toxaway. Both of his parents work in Brevard; his father works at Gaia Herbs and his mother, Connie, at Charlie's Tire. In his spare time in Greensboro, Owen continues some of the pastimes he developed in high school and college. At Rosman High he was a member of the shooting team and part of a group which initiated the RHS Alumni Hall of Fame. He also enjoyed Hiking and fishing, as well as shooting pool. At Clemson he founded a billiards club and competed in the American Pool Players Association from 2014 to 2018. In 2015 his team, based in Brevard, qualified for the world championship and tied for 257th place in the world at the competition in Las Vegas. While at Clemson he participated in the Environmental Engineering Club and the Clemson chapter of the American Water Works Association-Water Environment Federation. Asked how the Connestee Falls scholarship affected his life, he responded that, because his parents were not able to help him pay for his education, he would not be where he is today if it were not for the scholarship assistance he received.

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