Amaury Muñoz, center, at an Hispanic Heritage Month event in China.
ALBANY, N.Y. (April 17, 2018) – Amaury Muñoz ’13 is living the dream. The American Dream, that is.
The Rockefeller College alumnus moved to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic when he was 15. While still at UAlbany, Muñoz interned in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office and met former President Bill Clinton.
As a UAlbany senior, he was one of 40 recipients nationwide to win the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. Fellows commit to three years of service as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State.
Determined to succeed because of the sacrifices his parents made to give him a quality education and economic opportunity, Muñoz went on to get a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Today, Muñoz is a U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, one of the U.S.’s largest consulates.
“Here I have the honor of serving as the Fraud Prevention Officer. My main responsibility is to ensure U.S. border security by protecting the integrity of the U.S. visa process and ensuring only qualified applicants are able to travel to the U.S.,” he said. “Additionally, I also enjoy volunteering and hosting events that connect with Chinese audiences to increase mutual understanding about U.S. culture and society.”
Guangzhou is the third largest city in China, with a pace of change and development more rapid than anything he has seen before. Muñoz and his wife, Nicola, joke that Guangzhou is the largest city no one has heard of.
Muñoz credits his University at Albany education with preparing him for the work he does today. Michael Christakis and Meredith Weiss were the two professors who influenced him the most.
“Both of them taught me the introductory courses to each of my respective dual majors, public policy and political science,” wrote Muñoz in an email from China. “With Professor Christakis, I learned how to effectively craft and design policies that address different needs and how to think critically about complex problems, skills I use daily as a Foreign Service Officer. With Professor Weiss I learned about international relations and comparative studies, later taking one of her more advanced courses on Southeast Asian studies. It was also with Professor Weiss that I first traveled overseas to East Asia, a part of the world that I now love and one that fascinates me. Both professors have been instrumental in my professional and academic development and I’m very thankful for their mentorship and guidance.”
UAlbany alum Amaury Muñoz, at right, accepts the Franklin Award.
In 2017, Muñoz won the individual Franklin Award for his work in coordinating Guangzhou’s outreach for the Electronic Visa Update System rollout, a new program affecting all Chinese tourists holding 10-year B1/B2 visas.
He speaks Spanish, Chinese, and took Portuguese at UAlbany prior to serving as Public Affairs Fellow at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, the summer before grad school.
His advice to current students? He would tell them to take every opportunity to expand their horizons and benefit from what Albany has to offer.
“Take that interesting language, study abroad, do that internship, become active in student government, clubs, and organizations. But most of all, take advantage of your professors. They’re always ready to help out, mentor you, and guide you as you explore your academic and professional interests,” Muñoz said.
“UAlbany professors have always been there for me anytime I’ve needed help, from helping me prepare for my Pickering interview, to providing me letters of recommendation, to helping guide my academic and professional goals. Be proactive with your professors and don’t always wait until you need something to reach out,” he said.
For more news, subscribe to UAlbany's RSS headline feeds
About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.