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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Espoir Tuyisenge Cohort: 2014
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Food Industry Management
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Espoir studies Agribusiness Management and is from Rwanda, the Thousand Hills Nation, where Agriculture is the primary source of income. Espoir was fortunate to work in an agricultural project where he met Rwandan farmers. He discovered that farmers could maximize their profits with increased knowledge of business practices. Espoir was inspired to get the best education and experience at MSU in Agribusiness so one day he can help Rwandan farmers build their own businesses. After graduation, he wants to go back to Rwanda and collaborate with other experts to help farmers establish various types of Agribusiness ventures, including light food companies.

Nikkita Ngalande Cohort: 2015
Country: Zambia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Actuarial Science
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Nikkita is an undergraduate scholar studying actuarial science. The second in a family of five, Nikkita has lived most of her life in Lusaka, Zambia. Before she came to MSU, Nikkita volunteered at 1000 Hearts Foundation, a non-governmental organization that aims to alleviate the plight of underprivileged children. She taught primary school children mathematics and science during the school holidays. Nikkita's goal is to return to Zambia and apply her financial risk knowledge to develop policies that will positively alter the Zambian economy. She also sees herself working with other MasterCard Foundation scholars to build a technology development hub in Africa, working with talented young entrepreneurs to impact underserved communities.

Violet Acumo Cohort: 2016
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Public Policy
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Violet is an graduate studying public policy.

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.

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.

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