University at Albany Senior Amaury Muñoz Chosen as a Pickering Fellow
U.S. State Department Program Prepares Future Foreign Service Officers
University at Albany senior Amaury Muñoz is one of only 40 college and university students nationally participating in the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, a program for students aspiring to enter the United States diplomatic corps. The only student representing the State University of New York system, Muñoz will be working alongside peers from Georgetown, Columbia, New York University, Harvard, and Yale.
UAlbany senior Amaury Muñoz is an honors student in public policy. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)
As a Pickering Fellow, Muñoz receives financial support towards tuition and other expenses during his senior year of undergraduate studies and his first year of graduate study. The Pickering Fellowship is administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation for the U.S. Department of State.
Fellows commit to three years of service as a Foreign Service officer for the U.S. Department of State. The Foreign Service, a corps of working professionals who support the President of the United States and the Secretary of the United States Department of State are “front-line” personnel who can be sent anywhere in the world, at any time, in service to the diplomatic needs of the United States.
According to Muñoz, winning the Pickering Fellowship has been a surreal experience. “Never in a lifetime did I expect to win this fellowship,” he said.
Fellows in both the undergraduate and graduate Pickering programs participate in one domestic and one internship abroad. For his domestic internship, Muñoz hopes to work in the office of Trafficking in Persons. For his internship abroad, he hopes to go to Brazil. In preparation, Muñoz will take Portuguese in the fall at UAlbany.
“The UAlbany faculty also deserve a great deal of credit for this achievement,” Muñoz said. “As soon as my adviser Anne Hildreth found out I was a finalist, she assembled a group of three UAlbany distinguished international affairs professors who willingly gave time to meet with me one-on-one to help prepare for my written exam and interview. Professor Hildreth also conducted a mock interview where she was able to pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses, and provide helpful tips.”
This award is just the latest in a long list of achievements and opportunities for Muñoz, who moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic at age 15 and now resides in Brentwood, N.Y.
In May, he and UAlbany student Kalima Johnson were chosen for the University of California, Berkeley’s 2012 Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute Fellowship. This past spring he served as a legislative affairs intern in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office of State Legislative Affairs in Albany, and also interned in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office of Regional Affairs for the fall 2011 semester.
Muñoz founded the student club Heart of Justice in 2010 to fight human trafficking. This led to a 2012 President’s Award for Leadership in Justice, recognizing his significant contributions to social justice and the quality of student life on campus. He has been a Campus Ambassador, a Senator-at-Large in UAlbany’s Student Association, and was just elected president of the national political science honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha.
After graduation, Muñoz plans to pursue a master’s degree in international affairs focusing on Latin American Studies at an Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs member school. After completing his graduate studies, he hopes to work for the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer.