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UAlbany Student Learning in the Heart of State Government

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 14, 2011) -- When Amaury Muñoz was a boy growing up in the Dominican Republic, he never dreamed he would one day meet a former United States president, work for a U.S. senator, or be an intern in the Office of Regional Affairs for the governor of New York state. However, all of this became possible at the University at Albany, where he is now studying public policy and political science.

UAlbany's Amaury Muñoz

UAlbany offers an endless number of internship opportunities, according to public policy and political science major Amaury Muñoz. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

“The reason I decided to attend UAlbany for my undergraduate education is because I am very passionate about politics and public policy. I knew that there was no other place like UAlbany to pursue my political ambitions,” said Muñoz, who moved to the United States with his family when he was 15.

He chose UAlbany because of its nationally-ranked Rockefeller College public policy program and its strategic location near the heart of state government. “By virtue of being located in the state’s capital, UAlbany offers opportunities that no other college in the state can match: The endless number of internships available,” he said.

As an intern in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, Muñoz researches issues affecting localities and towns. The brief he writes is used to update the governor and his officials on important issues.

His best day on the job occurred when Gov. Cuomo announced a $4.4 billion investment by an international technology group led by Intel and IBM to develop next-generation computer chip technology in New York state. In addition to attending the press conference, Muñoz went to a reception at the governor’s mansion, where he met Cuomo, former President Bill Clinton, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, and Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings.

“It was a humbling experience,” said Muñoz, a junior whose family resides in Brentwood, N.Y. “It made me realize how fortunate I am to have this internship.”

Committed to Making a Difference

Muñoz and his family moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic in search of a better life.

“The reason I am so determined to succeed in school is because of all the sacrifices my parents made for me. They gave up everything they knew so we could come to this country for economic stability and educational opportunities, and that is why I work so hard,” said Muñoz.

While Muñoz’s first language is Spanish, he learned English quickly in high school, overcoming the language barrier to become an honors student. While interning for U.S. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey this summer in Washington, D.C., he drafted letters and translated documents into Spanish. In Menendez’s office, Muñoz was the GE Hispanic Forum Intern of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute of Washington, D.C.

At UAlbany, Muñoz is an honors student in public policy, a Campus Ambassador, a Senator-at-Large in Student Association, and has been active in Impact Christian Fellowship. He founded the student club Heart of Justice in 2010 to fight human trafficking, raising more than $4,500 for the effort.

“It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century crimes like this one still exist. Yet, they are thriving and growing like never before,” he said. “It is estimated that as many as 27 million human beings are currently enslaved and that two children per minute are trafficked for sexual exploitation.”

After graduation in May 2013, Muñoz plans to study for a master’s degree in public policy. As for long-term career goals, he is torn between staying in New York state and running for office, or returning to the Dominican Republic to fight government corruption.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 17,500 students. An internationally recognized research university with 50 undergraduate majors and 125 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit http://www.albany.edu/. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.