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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Samuel Batali Cohort: 2016
Country: South Sudan
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Science
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Samuel is an undergraduate student majoring in computer science and engineering. He believes in the influenced of technology in solving world problems such as unemployment and poverty. Samuel has been actively serving the community through volunteering in non-profit organizations that helps underprivileged kids access education, tutoring students, and advocating for peaceful co-existence and unity in his country, which is experiencing political turmoils, through educating young people ways of promoting peace and tribal understanding. He also has working experience in business management and customer services.

Nana Abena Anti Cohort: 2014
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Nana is an undergraduate from Ghana majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a pre-medical focus. After a year of working as a personal wellness coach in Ghana, she discovered that most Africans cannot afford adequate nutrition despite the abundance of natural and nutritional resources. The problem is made worse by the absence of health educational and awareness programs and the lack of scientific research in dietetics and alternative plant medicine. Nana believes Africa possesses sufficient resources to keep its people healthy, but these resources are underutilized. After her education, she plans to return to Ghana and establish a research facility in the field of Pharmacognosy and alternative medicine. In doing so, she says, "I will be able to bridge the gap between orthodox and alternative medicine, to provide the best healthcare to my people."

Gobi Bah Cohort: 2014
Country: The Gambia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Neuroscience
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Gobi (Momodou) was born in Gambia. During his internship as a Veterinary Laboratory Technician in the livestock department under his country's Ministry of Agriculture, Momodou gained first-hand knowledge of the challenges farmers in Gambia experience. After his graduation with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology, he would like to help address some of these problems. His dream is to become an agricultural scientist (Biochemist/Biotechnologist) and to help enhance the development of agriculture in the country and increase food production in Africa. Momodou appreciates and credits the love, support and advice that he receives from his family, friends and community members. This support has encouraged him to pursue his academic goals and has strengthened his resolve to give back to the people of his country and of Africa after graduation.

Hepsiba Chepngeno Cohort: 2014
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Agribusiness Management
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Hepsiba is an undergraduate from Bomet, Kenya. She is majoring in Agribusiness Management. After receiving her degree, she plans to return home to work with Kenyan farmers to improve their yield, since farming is the only source of livelihood for most Kenyans. She was deeply distressed that the same farmers who toiled all year long could not feed their families, let alone take their children to school. She feels that if the farmers are taught better ways of farming to increase their crop yield, then poverty levels can be reduced. She lived in a rural area in Bomet, and saw first-hand how farmers and their families can go hungry, especially during unfavorable weather conditions. This inspired her interest to pursue a field of study that will help improve their lives.

Roberta Dankyi Cohort: 2014
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Nursing
College: College of Nursing

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Biography: Roberta Dankyi is a third year Nursing student with a minor in Environmental and Sustainability studies. She is passionate about making healthcare accessible to under served women and children in Africa. Roberta is the founder of the Bridge to Health Initiative, a foundation that seeks to educate the average Ghanaian citizen by equipping them with basic health information.As part of her commitment to help improve health outcomes for breast and cervical cancer patients, her partnership with the Tamale Teaching Hospital in Ghana is ensuring that women around the area are taught the self-breast exam and early signs of cervical cancer. She believes in Africa, and she believes that the MasterCard Foundation has taken well-appreciated and impactful steps by supporting talented young Africans who will help make Africa a better place.

Claire Gapare Cohort: 2014
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Neuroscience
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Claire is an undergraduate from Zimbabwe, majoring in Neuroscience. After receiving her degree, she plans to return to her home country and help young children who suffer from brain and other neuron-related diseases. In 2013, she founded a club called Photizo Christian Youth Club in her home country, which advocates for education for young girls. This was triggered by the realization of the struggles young girls go through to attain even a primary (elementary) education. Her long-term goal is to become a pediatric neurosurgeon.

Joyce Goodluck Cohort: 2014
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Pre-Med
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Joyce is an undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Pre-med.Before she came to MSU, she worked under Rwanda's high school graduate National Service program where she visited villages to educate citizens about eating healthy food, sanitation, community service, productive farming methods, and the role of a citizen in government. She was also a girl scout for five years. Joyce did many community service projects and charity work to fulfill her promise of serving God and the nation. For example, she helped build classrooms at a local school, made roads in villages, helped with ensuring security at major community events, and offered financial assistance to sick people and the poor.Joyce hopes to become a humanitarian medical researcher and a missionary physician after completing an M.D.-P.h.D. As a way to prepare for these professions, she volunteered at Sparrow Hospital in the past academic year and she will be working as a Student Volunteer Coordinator at Sparrow Hospital next year. She also serves (volunteers) the Greater Lansing community through MSU Campus Lions Club, a student organization which is part of Lions International.

Amanuel Goshu Cohort: 2014
Country: Ethiopia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Amanuel is an undergraduate from Ethiopia, majoring in Computer Engineering. Before he came to Michigan State University, he served as a leader for his high school's Science & Information Technology Club. The club's goal was to provide free academic tutoring services for computer literacy programs for needy high school students. Amanuel believes that Africa's developmental challenges are due to the lack of advanced technology and technological expertise. After graduating from MSU, he intends to go back to Ethiopia to help increase access to advanced technology among the disadvantaged. Amanuel is passionate about telecommunications and computer programming, which fuels his ambition to establish a multinational telecommunications service provider that will be headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

Rellika Kisyula Cohort: 2014
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Media and Information
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Rellika is an undergraduate from Kenya, studying Media and Information and Minor in Computer Science. Rellika is a graduate of The African Leadership Academy (ALA) in South Africa. At ALA, he was CFO of Sanyu Productions, a student-run enterprise which specializes in media productions. In ALA, Rellika also acted as a DJ, an audio-visual technician and as a filmmaker. In 2013, he attend the President's Annual Meeting in Addis Ababa, its theme, Technology in Africa. In the summer of 2014, Rellika interned with the Equity Bank and Equity Group Foundation as a documentary filmmaker and graphical designer. At Michigan State University, he is a filmmaker of Turn Productions, a former DJ at Impact 88.9FM, and member of IT club. In 2016 summer, Rellika interned with mSurvey as API Programmer and Data Scientist. In addition to technology and information systems, Rellika actively participates in volunteer work to teach village high school students basic programming and media production. This month (July), Rellika will be traveling to Uganda with former ALA students to present his project, "Increasing Interest in CS/IT/ICT4D.

Orwell Madovi Cohort: 2014
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Electrical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Orwell is an undergraduate from Zimbabwe studying Electrical Engineering. He hopes to use the privilege he has been awarded with by the MasterCard Foundation scholarship to help his country get back on its feet after the huge economic crisis that began in the past decade. He believes the major economic problems of Zimbabwe are due to the poor performance of the industrial sector, which experiences incessant power cuts. He hopes to go back and improve the power infrastructure of the country, which in turn will help revive the economy. Orwell is also interested in helping orphans, as he grew up as one, and has the first-hand understanding of how people can experience adversities that may defer their dreams.

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