Texas State senior earns
prestigious Fulbright grant
The program, sponsored by the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, is designed to prepare college students in the region for roles in public service and leadership.
One day, all the participants were taken to a gymnasium and told to imagine the floor was a world map and to stand where they expected to work one day.
Virtually everyone in the group — most of them aspiring professionals, many with political ambitions — gathered within the area designated as the United States.
Muñoz started walking. And walking.
“I walked all the way across the gym and I just stood there all by myself,” he recalls. “They went through everybody and asked what they wanted to be. And when they got to me, I said, ‘I want to be an international entrepreneur, and I’m here in Spain conducting international business.’”
Come September, Muñoz will be doing just that. The graduating senior has been awarded a Fulbright grant to work in Spain for 9½ months, helping teach at a secondary school and working on a research project he expects to be related to small business development.
Muñoz received the news from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board earlier this month. Texas State is well known for producing faculty members who are Fulbright scholars, and in 2009-10 two Texas State students received Fulbright grants, according to Valentina Glajar, the Fulbright Program Adviser at Texas State.
More than 300,000 people have received Fulbright grants in the program’s 60-year history, including heads of state, ambassadors, judges, university professors and CEOs of major companies. Forty-three of them have been awarded Nobel Prizes.
“It’s a dream come true,” says Muñoz, who is a first-generation college student from the South Plains town of Brownfield.
He’s graduating from Texas State this spring with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance, the culmination of years that included classes at South Plains College, a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas National Guard and four years in San Marcos.
“This is the American Dream,” says Pat Pattison, a professor of business law at the McCoy College of Business Administration who has been Muñoz’s mentor since he came to campus. “Dawson had to join the National Guard to afford to go to a university. He’s been in Iraq, and he’s still in the National Guard. But each step of the way, he’s said ‘I can do this.’”
Muñoz will work in the Cantabria region of northern Spain, serving as a teaching assistant for 16 hours a week and working on his research project.
It won’t be his first trip to Spain — he backpacked in Europe for 2½ weeks last year.
“I went to Barcelona and I just felt so at home,” he says. “The people, my whole experience was just awesome. I thought, ‘There has to be a way that I can come back here and work and live here.’”