Meet our New Director: Dr. Koboul E. Mansour!
By Madeleine Cerone
September 2, 2023
The DMC has a new Director! Dr. Koboul E. Mansour has come to us after completing her doctorate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Before beginning studies at Amherst 5 years ago, she spent her childhood, undergraduate, and working life in Egypt. Here is a quick Q & A where Koboul tells us about her favorite foods, reflects on her thoughts about Hamilton, and gives us some sound college advice!
Q: What’s your favorite part about Hamilton so far?
A: I know this is a cliché but it’s really the students. The students are really great. I haven’t been able to meet a lot of students yet, but especially my team, my ambassadors, make me feel very lucky. You’re all proactive, you’re very smart, you're very respectful, you're so fun to be with, you're funny and you’re interactive. It's going to be a good semester and academic year for us. I’ve been very well received by the community as well, I have such great colleagues. I know I’m a little bit biased, but my favorite part right now is you, my team!
Q: Where is your hometown? What is the biggest difference between your hometown and Clinton?
A: It’s tricky to answer where my hometown is because… so, I’m from Egypt. Yes. But I lived in so many different parts of Egypt. So where I was born is different from where my family comes from, which is different from where I received my education, which is different from where I live in Egypt now. But currently I live in Cairo. My home town, or city, is called Dumya?, or Damietta. Damietta is the English pronunciation or spelling. It’s a coastal city on the Mediterranean, so growing up I spent all my summers literally by the Mediterranean. This is why I’m obsessed with seafood.
The difference is huge, we can write books with the difference! But I would say that Egyptian, African, Arab, and Middle Eastern cultures are very collective and community based. It’s like your neighbors are your family are your friends. It’s very connected. I think when I came here to the US, there was more of like: if you disappear for two weeks then we will start getting worried and reach out to ask are you still alive? Which is insane! So I made a deal with who is now my best friend in the United States to ask her to check in on me after two or three days if I do not show up. At first I did not have a partner, a roommate, or any family here, so I actually had to make that deal with her! But once people take you in here, they really take you in. I have my chosen family in Massachusetts, where I’ve spent most of my time here in the US.
Q: What are you most excited to do with the DMC?
A: A lot, to be honest. I am not looking to make huge strides or changes during my first year. I think I'm taking the time to understand more about my students, my organization, how the campus community functions, the different relationships among different departments, and learn a little about the culture among students here. I know that this is a high achieving student body as well, and so it is highly competitive. Another one of the things I would love to see happening this academic year is to highlight more the efforts that my student ambassadors and student organizations are doing within the DMC. So if I can support them in any way possible this year so their clubs can come to the forefront of things on campus, I would love to do that. I think an integral part of my role, that is also my favorite part of working on higher education campuses is supporting the students, because it’s holistic. It’s not only that you are working at the DMC for 20 hours and then you leave. I want to support all of you. So these are the two main things for me; to learn more about campus and support you in the ways I can.
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: I love eating! I hate cooking, but I love eating. I have to say the Egyptian cuisine because I’m from Egypt, but we do have some really good food. I love the Egyptian cuisine, Indian/Pakistani cuisine, and Chinese food. I love dim sum, I would eat dim sum any day of the week! I also like sandwiches and salads. I make some really good sandwiches and salads because it’s fast and easy! I love sushi. I like a lot of foods. I eat whatever is tasty.
Q: Is there any advice you would like to give to students right now?
A: I would say being in college is a great opportunity to take your time to explore who you are. Whatever that means to each and everyone of you. Explore your multiple identities, no one of you is one thing, you are a lot of different things that you haven’t found out about yet. So I would say take your time, enjoy life. I know life is hard and some students come with a lot of challenges, whether it’s personal or circumstantial. But you made it here, so remember that is a huge accomplishment. And seek out help. I am one of those people, by the way, who suck at asking for help because I am very proud. But I am learning to become better at it. Sometimes it is just enough to reach out to people and say “hey, I am having a hard time” and that’s it. But seek out that help. There are great resources on campus, and the DMC is one of them. I would say, also, if you don’t know where to go for help then come to us at the DMC. We all as a collective, the ambassadors and I, we will definitely be able to help you.
Q: Thank you, I appreciate you taking the time to give us your thoughts.
A: Of course!!!