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Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at MSU
International Studies and Programs
Michigan State University
International Center
427 N. Shaw Lane, Suite 124
East Lansing MI 48824-1035
Tel: 517-884-2129
Fax: 517-433-7254
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Chinwe Effiong Assistant Dean, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars and Youth Empowerment Programs
Office of the Dean

205 International Center

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Biography: Dr. Chinwe Effiong is Assistant Dean for the MasterCard Foundation Scholars and Youth Empowerment Programs. In this role she is responsible for providing leadership and management oversight to the MasterCard Foundation Scholars program, while leveraging MSU expertise to identify and scale new opportunities for global youth education, entrepreneurship and empowerment initiatives.

Before joining MSU, Dr. Effiong served as CEO of Junior Achievement (JA) in Africa, where she provided strategic direction and oversight for JA operations across sub-Saharan Africa. She worked closely with government, civil society groups and private sector stakeholders to raise awareness and promote support for programs that enabled young people in Africa to improve their livelihoods.

Dr. Effiong has made significant contributions to the global mission to create jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth, especially young women, residing in the world’s most marginalized communities. She designed the groundbreaking entrepreneurship curriculum for out of school youth, popularly referred to as ITS TYME (Immersion Training Strategy: Targeting Young Marginalized Entrepreneurs). In partnership with Google volunteers, she also facilitated the creation of the JA SySTEM, an innovative curriculum designed to raise awareness about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) among middle and high school students, especially girls, across Africa.

Prior to joining JA, Dr. Effiong was the Director of Programs for Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership in Silver Spring, MD. She also worked for several years as Country Director for Nigeria and Regional Director for East and West Africa at Africare, a Washington, D.C. based, international development organization, addressing a wide range of development needs across the continent of Africa.

Dr. Effiong started her professional career as Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Lincoln University, PA and served as interim Chair of the Department of Political Science there. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Delaware and a B.A. in English and Literary Studies from the University of Calabar, Nigeria. Dr. Effiong is a recognized thought leader in the field of youth education and entrepreneurship and has served on the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum and the Clinton Global Initiative.

In addition to her professional work, Dr. Effiong is a creative writer and motivational speaker.

Sheba Onchiri Specialist/Advisor
The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

124 International Center

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Biography: Dr. Sheba Onchiri is currently serving as the academic advisor and student support specialist with The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at Michigan State University (MSU). In her current position, she provides academic advising and facilitates the Scholars' cultural transition to the US.

Dr. Onchiri received her bachelor’s degree in education from Kenyatta University, Kenya, in 1991, a post-graduate diploma in gender and development from the University of Nairobi in 2000, and her master’s degree in women’s studies from the San Francisco State University in 2006. She completed her studies by earning a doctorate in educational administration from MSU in 2013.

Prior to her position with The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at MSU, Dr. Onchiri worked at St. Vincent Catholic Charities’ Refugee Services Department as an employment trainer. She was also an adjunct professor at the Davenport University, where she taught a course on diversity in society.

Joaquina Thomas Administrative Assistant
The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

124 International Center

Laura Wise Career Development Manager
The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

124 International Center

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Biography: Ms. Laura B. Wise is the career development manager for The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at Michigan State University (MSU). Her position focuses on the career and professional development that prepares MSU’s MasterCard Scholars to be competitive candidates for internships and long-term employment.

Ms. Wise works to connect the Scholars to prospective employers through an expansive global network. Before joining The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at MSU, Ms. Wise worked for the Michigan House of Representatives as well as at MSU’s Office for International Students and Scholars where she was an international student advisor and experiential learning coordinator.

Ms. Wise holds a bachelor of arts in philosophy and a bachelor of science in communications from Grand Valley State University and a master's of higher, adult, and lifelong education from MSU, which she completed in 2010.

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