Belal Awkal profile picture

Belal Awkal

Resides in: 

Springfield, Mass.


Liberal Arts and Science


Community organizer, Clean My City project in Springfield; dental technician; legal intern, Dunn and Phillips, P.C., Attorneys at Law

Favorite course/teacher:

Brian Kapinos (Political Science) is straight forward, simple and clear. He is great leader and motivator. He explains the government system in a pragmatic way. He goes straight to the point. He addresses the issues and is very open to new ideas and solutions. He's a great professor. I see him as a mentor. 

Most meaningful encounter at HCC:

Again, Brian Kapinos. He was very inspiring and helped me get a better view and grasp of how the political system works and how I can use my voice to help others. He made me aware that we as a people hold the power to make changes.

Why does education matter to you?

Education has opened my eyes. A perfect example is my class with Brian Kapinos. Because of that class I went from a state of sleeping, of stasis, to an active or proactive state of mind. I'm an admirer of JFK, and he said, it's not what your country can do for you, it's what you can do for your country. It really affected me. It really touched my heart, and I said, it's true, so what excuse do I have and what have I done for my community? Am I doing all I can to help the people?

What is your favorite thing about HCC?

The openness and willingness of the professors to help you advance.

What courses are you taking this semester?

English Composition II-Language and Literature (with Elizabeth Trobaugh); Public Speaking (with Tim Cochran); State and Local Government (with Brian Kapinos) and History of the U.S. I (with Stephen Miceli).

Advice for fellow students?

Stick with what you are passionate about, and just make your voice heard. Don't be afraid that people are going to laugh at you for your opinions. The professors here are not going to stifle your dissent.

Where are you going from here?

I am looking at Amherst College and Hampshire, so I'm working toward that. I know it can be quite a challenge to get there. I definitely want to be a lawyer or work in public service. I want to give everything I can to help solve the issues in my community. I know that actions speak louder than words and I am hungry to bring solutions. I am hungry to do.


Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave. Holyoke, MA 01040
(413) 538-7000