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.

Sort by
Arnold Mutayoba Cohort: 2013
Country: Tanzania
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Science
College: College of Engineering

Read Biography

Biography: Arnold is an undergraduate from Tanzania studying computer engineering. His passion is to help his home country further develop its information technology system. This MasterCard Foundation Scholar believes that Tanzania has the potential to grow exponentially—both economically and socially—due to vast economic development, including the mining of gas and oil along the Mtwara region coast. "Being a Tanzanian who is a patriot, I intend to return home to facilitate the technological transformation, which will eventually rise due to the advancement in the economy," says Mutayoba. Applying his telecommunication and computer engineering skills, his goal is to "increase the use of computing in the market system to develop reliable information that can be easily reached by a touch on a phone or through broadcasts, as I see here in the United States," Mutayoba adds. As he learns, he says he is continually evaluating what he will be able to accomplish once he earns his degree.

Veronica Uzalili Cohort: 2013
Country: Malawi
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Entomology
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Read Biography

Biography: Veronica is a completed her Master's in Entomology in 2015. She says her country is facing many challenges—namely disease, hunger, and a high illiteracy level. After receiving her master's degree, she intends to return to her home country and work in vector-borne disease research. After about three years, she plans to pursue her Ph.D. and then establish an entomological research laboratory. The end goal is for a healthy Malawi, which will enable people to participate in development projects. Upon her return to Africa, she will advocate for girls' education, since the school dropout rate is high. She believes that with mentoring and encouragement to work hard in class, it is possible to get out of poverty. Her long-term goal is to become a professor of entomology to help shape future scientists. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program provides the support for her dream of "seeing a better Africa."

David Makacha Cohort: 2014
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Public Relations
College: College of Communication Arts and Sciences

Read Biography

Biography: David completed his Master’s in Public Relations in 2015. He says he comes from a background that has motivated him to work hard to change things around him. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is enabled him to pursue a degree in public relations, something that is not offered in his country. After completing his master's degree he hopes to work as a lecturer or in non-governmental/humanitarian agencies as a public relations officer or as a development office communicator. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. and establish a small public relations consulting firm in order to create employment opportunities. He lives by the saying: To be born poor is not an option, but to die poor—that's an option.

Jalang Conteh Cohort: 2013
Country: The Gambia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Human Biology
College: College of Natural Science

Read Biography

Biography: Jalang Conteh is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Biology and minors in Global Public Health and Epidemiology and Women and Gender Studies. Growing up in a culture with many harmful traditional practices detrimental to the health of women, Jalang is passionate about the reproductive health of women and aims to pursue a degree in Human Medicine. Before coming to the US, she had volunteered at two hospitals and was also involved in a wide range of community service mostly geared towards women and girl children . She says her studies at MSU will be exciting and challenging for her, offering her the opportunity to pursue an investigative-oriented approach to science.

Blessing Tayisepi Cohort: 2013
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Civil Engineering
College: College of Engineering

Read Biography

Biography: Blessing is an undergraduate from Zimbabwe studying civil engineering. He says he has been deeply inspired by Thomas Alva Edison because "he pursued his dreams in order to achieve." Tayisepi says he pursued The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship in spite of others telling him it would be difficult to achieve. After receiving his degree, he plans to return to his county to assist in the construction industry. He has always had a passion for engineering, and as he grew up, he began to realize that his country's infrastructure was aging, but no one seemed to be paying attention to it. His dream is to "engineer success," and become a world-renowned engineer who will "change the landscapes of many countries in the world for the better." He hopes to aid socially and economically downtrodden people, to help them see that there is life beyond the veil of poverty and depression.

Buhle Mndzebele Cohort: 2014
Country: Swaziland
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Finance
College: College of Business

Read Biography

Biography: Buhle received his bachelor's of Finance from the Broad College of Business in 2016. He grew up in poverty, with his mother raising several children on a very small salary. "I had to study hard and excel in school in the hope that I‘d have a brighter future, to help change things at home—and in my country at large," he says. He has been involved with a youth club project at orphaned children's soup kitchens in his hometown of Bhanga—planting gardens, distributing food, and motivating students so they will do better in school and in life. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program has allowed him to pursue his degree and return to his home country to use his skills to help improve the economy through the application of proper financial techniques. "The problem with our nation and continent is not the lack of money, but it is that the little money we do have is not well managed or invested," says Mndzebele. His goal is to apply his economic knowledge to solve problems in education, health, and finance in his county and become a successful businessman so he can use his companies to further eradicate the problem of poverty among Africans by providing jobs and financial assistance.

Nadege Sesonga Cohort: 2013
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Nursing
College: College of Nursing

Read Biography

Biography: Nadege is an undergraduate studying nursing. She dreams of working in public health sectors especially the underdeveloped areas of Rwanda to improve maternal and child health. All of the activities she was involved with in high school—including teaching illiterate adults in her hometown village—have helped her develop leadership skills. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is providing Nadege with the education necessary for her to reach her goal of becoming a family nurse practitioner. During the summer of 2015 she interned with the Human Development Initiative in Rwanda where she worked on projects to promote health in rural areas.

Joseph Thompson Cohort: 2013
Country: Nigeria
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Chemical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

Read Biography

Biography: Joseph is an undergraduate from Nigeria majoring in chemical engineering. His goal is to learn about better methods of producing fertilizers geared toward the needs of rural farmers in Nigeria, and how to design useful processes for converting animal waste into useful biofuels to generate renewable energy. His degree will equip him with the knowledge required to address complex societal issues such as global warming and gas flaring. Upon completion of his degree, he will return to his home country. Thompson says,"I envision myself working with other experts to engender a rapid development and help solve societal problems." He would also like to set up a foundation to assist economically disadvantaged students in reaching the "zenith of their proposed career choices."

Mukangwa Masamba Cohort: 2013
Country: Zambia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Actuarial Science
College: College of Natural Science

Read Biography

Biography: Mukangwa is an undergraduate from Zambia majoring in Actuarial Science.

Panashe Mayangamutse Cohort: 2015
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Electrical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

Read Biography

Biography: Panashe (Mponyana) is an undergraduate student majoring in electrical engineering. Before she came to MSU, Panashe co-funded student clubs, volunteered as a tutor, and helped create sustainable community projects for youth in her community. Panashe hopes to bridge the communication technology gap between Africa and the rest of the world by forging partnerships with large telecommunication companies around the world to create effective yet affordable communication systems for the people in Africa. In addition to communication and information systems, Panashe actively participates in volunteer work to improve lives of children, a pursuit she plans to continue in Zimbabwe.

MCF Facebook MCF Twitter MCF Youtube MCF Instagram MCF wordpress

#MCFScholars on Social