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Featured Family: Melissa Munoz

 
 Melissa Munoz (center) with her parents and sisters.
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When Melissa Munoz arrived at Our Lady of the Lake University this fall, she moved about campus with the ease and familiarity of someone who had been here for years. She didn’t have the timidity of a freshman. Melissa possessed the confidence of an upperclassman.

From Main Building to Metz Hall, from Moye to Ayres Hall, there were invisible footprints, spiritual tracks, if you will, for her to follow.

Melissa’s oldest sister, Jessica, graduated from The Lake in 2005 and became a physician’s assistant. Another sister, Jacqueline, graduated from OLLU in 2006 and became a pharmacist.

Years later, after much contemplation, Melissa left her hometown of Houston to follow her heart. Before enrolling at OLLU, Melissa accompanied Jessica to a spinal cord surgery. The viewing inspired Melissa to study biology. “I like science,” Melissa says. “I think I found that out through Jessica. I was able to see a surgery and I never realized how much went into it. I was like, ‘Oh, what is that? How does this work?’ It motivated me.”
Ignacio and Norma Munoz raised five children in Houston, four of them girls. Melissa’s twin sister, Ashley, attends Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. A son, Eric, attended Texas A&M in College Station.

That three daughters selected OLLU pleased Norma for a number of reasons. “The Lake is a private Catholic University and we are Catholic,” she says. “That’s one reason. It is a small school, which allows a one-on-one relationship with professors. The classrooms are small. And to be honest, they got a great financial aid package. Those were some of the factors. Plus, it’s a Texas school and still close to home. They wanted to have the ability to commute when needed.”

Melissa says she would like to become a physician’s assistant, like Jessica. “It was awesome when Melissa got to shadow Jessica and see the spinal cord surgery,” Norma says. “She was so very excited. She said, ‘Mom, it was almost like ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ You should have seen it.”

Before graduating from St. Pius X High School in Houston, Melissa had heard heartwarming stories about the atmosphere and kind professors at The Lake. But she still entertained the possibility of attending other schools -- until she made her official OLLU visit.

“Everyone was very friendly compared to everywhere else I went,” Melissa says. “Everyone was very hospitable. I felt very welcome on my first campus visit. I went and talked to the professors and I felt they could give me more help than I could get at other schools. And now that I’m here, I love it.”

How much does Melissa love The Lake?

“One day,” she says, “I hope my kids can come here.”