All in the Family at Avery Point

Mohammad Mansour, the youngest of six siblings to pursue undergraduate studies at the Avery Point campus, likes to end each day watching the sun set across Long Island Sound. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Mohammad Mansour, the youngest of six siblings to pursue undergraduate studies at the Avery Point campus. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Painterly ocean-side sunsets aren’t the only reason Mohammad Mansour, a pre-pharmacy major, decided to start his UConn journey at Avery Point.

A 2016 graduate of Fitch High School in Groton, Conn., Mansour – and his five siblings before him – chose to attend UConn Avery Point because of the campus’ proximity to his home and its affordable cost.

“Once my sister graduated [high school] in 2008 and went to UConn, we all went to UConn,” he says. “My dad said he would recommend UConn over any other school. We’re a UConn family.”

Regional campuses offer a number of benefits, ranging from small class sizes to a tight-knit, supportive community of peers. Many students, however, have a common misconception that academic standards vary from campus to campus.

Mansour, himself, admits to having qualms about taking classes at Avery Point: during his orientation in Storrs, he inquired as to whether pursuing his undergraduate studies at a regional campus would prepare him well for applying to pharmacy school. His orientation leader assured him that he would receive a UConn quality education, no matter which campus he chose to attend.

His siblings’ successes are a testament to that statement: his eldest sister, Aysha ’16 (Pharm.D.), is now a registered pharmacist at Walgreens; his brother, Ahmed, who completed his undergraduate studies at UConn in three years, is currently pursuing his MD and will graduate from the UConn School of Medicine in 2018; his sisters Ola ’16 and Bayan ’17 are both pursuing nursing at UConn; and his sister Ruyah is set to graduate from UConn’s School of Allied Health in 2018.

Mansour makes the most of his time at Avery Point. He takes morning classes and works in the marine sciences lab in the afternoon. He says he’s looking forward to getting involved with the Associated Student Government, as a student activities leader, in the upcoming semester.

He ends his day with something unique to the Avery Point campus. “I like to leave the library at 4 p.m. and catch the sunset by the water,” he says.

Mansour’s decision to stay close to home also allows him to stay deeply involved with his community. As the Imam at the New London Islamic Center, Mansour’s father, Mahmoud Mansour, is a leader in his community. His son says he enjoys supporting his father; whether it’s leading support groups, joining the daily prayer service, or organizing soccer games in the summer, he revels in staying actively engaged with his cultural center.

In an effort to supplement his education with professional experience, Mansour works as a pharmacy technician at his local CVS. He says he enjoys the work but acknowledges that it can be stressful at times.

“It’s a nice job, and the environment is friendly and comfortable,” he says. “There’s so much going on, and I learn a lot; we write over 3,000 scripts each week.”

Mansour hopes to matriculate into the pharmacy program at UConn’s main campus in Storrs. He isn’t sure whether he wants to pursue retail pharmacy or clinical pharmacy but is confident in his choice to pursue a Pharm.D.

“I like helping people,” he says. “I like knowing that what I do will help them feel better at the end of the day.”