Odette Mansour ’24 loves a challenge. “When I have a goal, I put everything I have into achieving it,” she says. “My goal is to help people, and that is always pushing me forward.” Her journey to aid others in creating their own success stories has brought her from her hometown of Yanouh, Lebanon, to Bryant University.
Mansour emigrated to the United States from Lebanon in 2019 with the aim of building a brighter future. Working to support herself through multiple jobs and to improve her grasp of English, she still found time to raise funds for charitable organizations in her home country. A first-generation college student, Mansour began her college career at another school but as she learned more about Bryant’s academic programs and community she fell in love. “I would always tell people Bryant University is my dream school,” she remembers. Through hard work and with the aid of a supportive transfer admission staff, she became a Bryant Bulldog. It’s an opportunity, she says, that has been more than worth the effort.
A Finance and Economics major, Mansour plans on going into business law post-graduation and, one day, opening her own law firm. “When you start a business, you’re providing a service that helps others. I want to help people provide that service,” she says. She’s thrown herself into her education, aiming to develop a wide-ranging set of skills that will prepare her for any situation. “One of the things I love about Bryant is how you are able to combine all of your studies,” she notes.
She’s testing her skills through a variety of experiential learning opportunities that will ensure she’s real-world ready. Through Bryant’s highly selective Archway Investment Fund, she’s personally helping to steer a $2.5 million investment portfolio — and gaining an invaluable, hands-on understanding of how finance really works. As a member of the University’s Fed Challenge team, she’s competed against other students in a competition that tested their knowledge of economics and monetary policy and honed her analysis skills.
“When I give tours, I tell people my story, about what I’ve learned here, and how Bryant is helping me. I tell them, ‘I know that Bryant wants you to succeed.’”
Mansour’s found several of those opportunities through her Bryant professors. “Every Bryant faculty member is focused on every one of their students and they care the most about what you take away from your time with them,” she says. “They don’t want you to just get good grades, they truly want to help you and make sure you really understand what they’re teaching.”
Known for her ever-present smile and willingness to help others, Mansour acknowledges the road to her future has sometimes been difficult but says that her drive is empowered by the love and support of her family, especially her late aunt who would always encourage her to be the best that she could be at everything she tried. And although her birth family is back home in Lebanon, she’s found that same sort of environment among the members of Bryant’s close-knit community. “At Bryant, I saw how everyone, even your professors, can become a second family to you,” says Mansour. “Going to school here has made me stronger and more confident because you feel that you have support.”
As an Admission fellow, she shares her love for her school with prospective students. “When I give tours, I tell people my story, about what I’ve learned here, and how Bryant is helping me,” says Mansour. “I tell them, ‘I know that Bryant wants you to succeed.’”
The founder and president of the Bryant Arab Student Association, she also works to connect students and alumni of Arabic orign and to inform the greater Bryant community about Middle Eastern politics, economics, society, culture, and language through educational opportunities and events. “At Bryant, there is a respect for everyone and who they are,” she reflects. “This is a way for me to share my love for the country I came from.”