International Studies & Programs

The Scholars

Every year, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars program welcomes new undergraduates and graduates from sub-Saharan Africa to Michigan State University's campus. These Scholars have demonstrated academic talent and have a personal commitment to give back to their countries.

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Jimmy Mkude Cohort: 2013
Country: Tanzania
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Science
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Jimmy an undergraduate from Tanzania studying computer engineering. His biggest dream is to become president of the United Republic of Tanzania, so that he can "enforce honesty, integrity, and commitment."

Sharon Onyango Cohort: 2013
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Chemical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Sharon is an undergraduate studying chemical engineering. She believes that the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship is her breakthrough—and that of many Africans. "I am indeed very grateful." She says she has conquered her inhibitions, which had been limiting her view on what is possible. She has been involved the Zawadi Africa Education Fund—whose main goal is to empower young women from disadvantaged backgrounds in Kenya through education. While the numbers of unskilled and semi-skilled human resources in her country are huge and readily available, Kenya lacks technical manpower. Onyango says, "My dream is to be part of the job creation process in Kenya within the next decade. My chemical engineering degree will enable me to be on the forefront of technical expertise as well as contribute to the business management aspect."

Beatrice Kemboi Cohort: 2013
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Actuarial Science
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Beatrice is an undergraduate from Kenya who is studying Actuarial Science. She hopes to use her career to transform her country economically and socially by eradicating disease, poverty, and ignorance. She says, "My dream is that Kenya will one day be a first-world country." With the help of the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship, she is determined to work toward accomplishing that dream.

Timothy Ikime Cohort: 2013
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Zoology
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Timothy of Kenya graduated in 2015 with a Master's in Zoology. He intends to safeguard the diverse wildlife resources in his country, which are currently under threat due to poaching, biodiversity loss, and habitat destruction. He wishes to ensure that these resources are conserved for the current and future generations. Having completed his undergraduate studies in wildlife management and seeing many of the flora and fauna species become more threatened day to day, Ikime is looking forward to working with other academicians and leaders to ensure that the threats are minimized, if not eradicated. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in related fields and possibly teach in the area of natural resource management at a university. His life goals are to help the needy in society receive education, encourage young scholars to pursue careers in flora and fauna conservation, and generally fight illiteracy in Kenya.

Heather Kerubo Cohort: 2013
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Nursing
College: College of Nursing

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Biography: Heather Kerubo is an undergraduate student majoring in Nursing, She says the Zawadi Africa Education Fund is the most inspiring project she has ever come across. The founder, Dr. Susan Mboya, encourages students from poor backgrounds to "chase their dreams." Kerubo comes from an area where many people cannot acquire even basic needs. She hopes to develop projects that will help people come out of poverty or at least live above the poverty line. She plans to help more children have access to education. In addition, she wants to guide other students who may be interested in doing the same. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program will make it possible for her to "chase her dream" of becoming someone who will help other people have access to the opportunities she almost missed, but was able to acquire through the empathy of others.

Victor Jayeola Cohort: 2012
Country: Nigeria
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Food Science
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Victor is from Nigeria where he obtained his bachelor’s degree. He is graduated with a Master’s Degree in Food Science & Human Nutrition in 2014. Victor has a passion for independent research in the area of food harvesting, marketing, and food safety. When asked about his future aspirations, Victor explains, “My desire to contribute towards scientific research on food safety in Nigeria has coupled with my innate proclivity for teaching, and this has spurred a desire in me to pursue a professional career in teaching and research.”

Simbarashe Chidyagwai Cohort: 2013
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Mechanical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Simba is an undergraduate student from Zimbabwe studying mechanical engineering. He has an interest in bio-mechanics and how engineering can be used to facilitate better health care delivery, particularly in developing countries in Africa. He also has a strong interest in the career development of young people, a passion he uses in his role as a career adviser in the Center for Spartan Engineering.

Rebecca Nassimbwa Cohort: 2012
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Rehabilitation Counseling
College: College of Education

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Biography: Rebecca is from Uganda where she obtained her undergraduate degree at Makerere University. She graduated with a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the College of Education in 2014. Rebecca returned to Uganda and is using her skills and knowledge to develop communities by helping some of the most disadvantaged. She is working to empower and sensitize people about the importance of treating others equally regardless of their disabilities, background, or health condition. She also hopes to advocate for reforms to the education system that will positively impact learners with disabilities. Through its emphasis on service to others, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program has helped Rebecca sharpen her vision “to facilitate the rejuvenation of hope, determination, and the acquisition of skills in order to achieve better standards of living for all.”

John Tengatenga Cohort: 2013
Country: Malawi
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: James Madison
College: James Madison College

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Biography: John is an undergraduate studying international relations in James Madison College. Working with the David Peace Project, which is aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence of people, has had a major influence on his career choice. Tengatenga says, "I want to become a diplomat or policy analyst and help my country by promoting good relationships with other countries." The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship will enable him to pursue his studies and learn about world politics and economics, as well as how large organizations—such as the United Nations—work.

Mavis Dome Cohort: 2012
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Public Policy
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Mavis is from Gara-Tongo Ghana, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University for Development Studies. She graduated from MSU with a Master’s Degree in Public Policy & Political Science from the College of Social Science in 2014. She believes that The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program has given her a platform to contribute to the development of communities and to serve as a role model to other African youth faced with obstacles to education. Mavis returned to Ghana in 2013 to join the Centre for Democractic Development, an Afrobarometer affiliate.

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