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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Benjamin Eshiwani Cohort: 2016
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Finance
College: College of Business

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Biography: Benjamin Eshiwani is an undergraduate student majoring in Finance. Before coming to MSU, Eshiwani founded The IntelliYouth Initiative in Kenya which focuses on mentoring and offering civic education mainly to the youth in informal settlement. He was also a mentor under Equity Group Foundation. Eshiwani has experience in banking, he interned with Equity Bank (Kenya) as a relationship officer for one year. Eshiwani is also an actor and stage performer. He has received several accolades and in 2014 he was nominated as the best actor in Kisumu county, Kenya. He has presented a testimonial solo verse before President Bill Clinton in 2015 during the Equity Annual Congress. Eshiwani aspires to work with World Bank where he believes he will be effective in transforming the economy of Africa through creating favorable policies, supporting innovation and creating employment opportunities to people in Africa. Eshiwani also has dreams of venturing into Kenyan politics to satisfy his quest for justified and democratic leadership. Currently he serves as a volunteer tutor in English to students who are learning English as their second language at Mount Hope United Methodist Church, Class of 2020 representative to the MSU Student government where he voices the unique concerns of members of his class and finally, the treasurer for Kenyans In Lansing Association.

Talitha Pam Cohort: 2016
Country: Nigeria
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Community Sustainability
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Talitha Pam is a Nigerian graduate student in the department of Community Sustainability at MSU. Over the years Talitha has been involved in a variety of projects with various development organizations including A Rocha, Tearfund and World Renew. Four years ago she co-founded an organization called Eden Creation Care Initiative that primarily focuses on conservation and environmental awareness with communities. Upon completion of her degree Talitha plans to continue work with Eden and other development organizations. She desires to develop the expertise to critically analyze the multifaceted issues of poverty, economic livelihood, food security and resource management in Nigeria. This knowledge will help her develop and implement successful community intervention programs. It will also enable her to consult and give management support to Nigerian government parastatals involved in sustainable development. Long term goals for Talitha include being involved in academia to provide guidance and instructions for future generations committed to community sustainability. Talitha has a deep sense of stewardship for the environment and has coordinated tree planting campaigns and community clean up exercises to create awareness on environmental care and sustainability. She is committed to the actualization of a better earth, which she believes is attainable, especially if we all take individual responsibility.

Esther Kilaja Cohort: 2015
Country: Tanzania
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Supply Chain Management
College: College of Business

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Biography: Esther is a business major undergraduate student. In high school she worked hard and was awarded an international IB scholarship in a prestigious high school in Tanzania (IST). Esther is compassionate, strong willed and focused. She has worked in her mother's textile shop her entire life, which is where her love for business was nurtured. Encouraged by her father to study supply chain management, Esther plans to start her own business that will help young African scholars who are passionate and ambitious to take risks and prosper. Esther is inspired by her mother, who works hard every day to ensure her children are successful.

Phoebe Tuyishime Cohort: 2016
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Nutritional Science
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Phoebe is an undergraduate studying nursing.

Rachel Nanteza Cohort: 2014
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Environmental Studies and Sustainability
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Rachel is an undergraduate Ugandan student majoring in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. Before coming to MSU, Rachel participated in voluntary projects to protect and clean her community water sources and also engaged in projects to improve water access in public schools in her home community. Rachel is specializing in water resource management and hopes to use her degree to engage in devising and improving policies to ensure better distribution and access to water in low-income communities on the continent of Africa. Currently, Rachel is engaged in multiple activities such as dance and formal presentations to share African culture here at MSU.

Derrick Dwamena Cohort: 2016
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Neuroscience
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Derrick Asante Dwamena is an undergraduate student majoring in neuroscience. Prior to coming to MSU, Derrick started an epilepsy awareness campaign, founded a youth development program called Mentoring the Next Generation and co-founded a charity organization that donates bi-annually to local charities. He believes that his pursuit of higher education in MSU will grant him opportunities and the kind of networks that will aid him is developing those startups back home to their fullest potential. With regards to his major, he intends to make health care on the continent more accessible and affordable to all people no their financial standing.

Eustace Akagha Cohort: 2016
Country: Nigeria
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Packaging
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Eustace is an undergraduate studying packaging.

Aminatou Seydou Moumouni Cohort: 2017
Country: Niger
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: James Madison
College: James Madison College

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Biography: Aminatou is an undergraduate student majoring in international studies. She graduated from a high school in India where she studied in the international baccalaureate program. She is passionate about empowering women and believes that empowering herself is the first step. By studying international relations, she hopes to encourage gender equality in her home country of Niger. Aminatou understands that women have limited opportunities in Niger, and are believed to be inferior to men in all working areas. She wants to go beyond her comfort zone and challenge her community. After graduation, she aspires to become a woman leader and create her own non-governmental agencies in Niger in areas that are central to women’s progress. “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself from the contribution of half of its citizens.” - Michelle Obama

Abii-Tah Chungong Cohort: 2017
Country: Cameroon
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Jame Madison College
College: James Madison College

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Biography: Abii-Tah is a driven undergraduate student, double majoring in International Relations and Comparative Cultures and Politics at James Madison College. Prior to MSU, Abii-Tah was a student at the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in South Africa where she served various leadership positions such as ALA student government chairlady, house captain, church leader, and Chief Financial Officer of Smartrepreneurs—a student-run organization that refines and markets artists' skills to help them establish successful careers using their art. After graduating from ALA, Abii-Tah presented a speech and ran a Human Rights and Leadership workshop at the 2016 Global Student Leaders conference organized by Education First Educational Tours at The Hague, Netherlands. She also co-founded and helped run Cameroon Youth Reform Initiative (CYRI) which worked to reinforce creativity and innovation to overly-dependent, young Cameroonian students and graduates. In addition, Abii-Tah worked for international educational organizations, such as Enko Education to promote the International Baccalaureate curriculum in African schools. Currently, Abii-Tah is developing her own project called “My Camer and I,” which seeks to rid her country of indifference towards ongoing social issues. Through her project, she intends to use entertainment and education to implant a seed of oneness within the country’s citizens in order to ignite their desire to initiate individual and collective actions that will, in turn, produce invaluable solutions to Cameroon's problems. Abii-Tah's greatest forte is her passion to engage any community around her to drive empowerment for themselves, and the world at large.

Kisanet Gebresilase Cohort: 2017
Country: Ethiopia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Environmental Biology
College: College of Natural Sciences

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Biography: Kisanet is an undergraduate Scholar from Ethiopia, studying environmental biology.

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