Rising Stars: Dawson Muñoz

Mentor helps Muñoz find
future as Fulbrighter

Dawson Muñoz, right, with his mentor, Pat Pattison

By David King

When Dawson Muñoz was taking classes at South Plains College, he dreamed of a career in international business.

“I said I wanted to be an international entrepreneur,” he recalls.

Six years later — thanks to both his own persistence and some sage guidance from his mentor, Texas State business professor Pat Pattison — he’s there.

Muñoz graduated from Texas State with bachelor of business administration in finance in May. In September, he will begin a 9½-month Fulbright fellowship in Spain, helping teach at a secondary school and working on a research project about small business development.

More than 300,000 people have received grants from the William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board 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,” Muñoz says of the fellowship.

It came in part because of his relationship with Pattison. She was paired with Muñoz in the Texas State Mentoring Program when he arrived on campus, and their bond grew even after the official mentoring period — one academic year — was done.

“Pat has been an awesome influence here at Texas State,” he says.

During his junior year at Texas State, Pattison encouraged Muñoz to apply to the Fulbright program, which identifies promising students and provides them with opportunities to teach and do research outside the United States. After considering the opportunity, he applied.

“Getting recommendations from the professors just made me love McCoy that much more,” Muñoz says. “There are all these professors who care about you and want you to succeed. That was one of the other reasons I wanted to get the grant; they spent so much time doing recommendations for me, it’s just cool to come back and tell them I got it.”

Getting the Fulbright grant was the culmination of four years at Texas State that Muñoz called the best of his life.

“His personal story emphasizes the fact that he wants to give back, he wants to help people overcome the things he had to overcome,” Pattison says. “It’s the kind of story that people say makes them want to come to the United States. People say they want to do something, and nothing can stop them.”

Learn more about Muñoz and Pattison in the Rising Stars archive and in this video, which showcases the bond between mentor and student.

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