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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Edward Opoku Cohort: 2015
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Edward is a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics. His working experience with an agricultural-input dealer company exposed him to many challenges that farmers face in Ghana, especially cycle of poverty in which Ghanian farmers work. After graduation, Edward would like to work in a government or for a non-profit organization where he would focus on economic impacts of agricultural research, technology, system efficiency, and the economics of science and technology policies to help smallholder farmers in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

Duale Abdullahi Cohort: 2015
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Science
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Duale is an undergraduate studying Computer Science. Growing up in an environment where resources were scarce, Duale was actively involved in volunteer activities during high school, and later formed a youth outreach program with his classmates, dedicated to creating awareness around good governance and gender equality. He believes that selfless involvement in the community and striving to reach personal goals are at the core of a life well lived. Duale intends to return to Kenya to be an agent of change, armed with the relevant skills and knowledge for the common prosperity of his community.

Balindile Motsa Cohort: 2015
Country: Swaziland
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Biochemistry
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Balindile is an undergraduate scholar studying biochemistry, molecular biology and biotechnology. Despite difficult circumstances growing up, Balindile worked hard in school and has been heavily involved in women's empowerment and volunteer projects in Swaziland and in South Africa. She has worked in care points and preschools, volunteered in orphanages, and helped start and run a company focused on women's empowerment. Balindile plans to return to Swaziland and become an active player in the research for a cure for HIV. She believes that with the right education the health sector in Swaziland can be improved to benefit everyone in the country. Balindile hopes to stand as an inspiration to young Swazi girls who dream to have a career in the sciences and show them that it can be done. She wants to start her own empowerment program to help women establish a stronger presence in the economy of Swaziland.

Tsion Gebissa Cohort: 2015
Country: Ethiopia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Biochemistry
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Tsion is an undergraduate studying chemical engineering. She worked in an Autism Centre in Addis Ababa, and also volunteered at a non-profit organization helping the elderly in her community. She plans to go back to Ethiopia and work in the chemical engineering industry. Her goal is to create opportunities for less privileged African students from Sub-Saharan Africa to give them access to proper education.

Caroline Latona Cohort: 2014
Country: Nigeria
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Advertising
College: College of Communication Arts and Sciences

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Biography: Caroline received her Master's in Advertising. She plans to return to Nigeria to help start-up companies and small businesses build their brands and have access to affordable advertising opportunities. For over 2 years, she worked in an advertising agency in Lagos and contributed to the launch of pan-Nigerian campaigns in the areas of creativity and strategy, and spanning the private sector, non-profits, and government. While serving in these roles, she realized the major challenge for start-ups and small businesses across the country is having access to affordable marketing communications solutions. In her spare time, Caroline began using her writing, design skills, and knowledge of branding and marketing to help these start-up companies. The need for more knowledge in this area spurred her on to pursue an advanced degree in Advertising to enable her to help business owners make their ideas a reality.

Rose Mnzava Cohort: 2014
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Rehabilitation Counseling
College: College of Education

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Biography: Rose completed her Master's in Rehabilitation Counseling. In the past, she was a member of a sign language club as well as a teacher to persons with disabilities and has taught the English language and Sign language to high school students. During that time, she realized that a significant number of people in society hold negative attitudes toward people with disabilities, and as a result many people are being isolated and neglected because family members and society lack knowledge about disability. This pushed her to further her education and she plans to dedicate her efforts toward educating Tanzanian society about the importance of taking care of special needs individuals.

Joyce Mujunga Nakyazze Cohort: 2015
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Environmental Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Joyce is a graduate scholar pursuing a master's degree in environmental engineering. Joyce holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Makerere University Kampala, Uganda. Before Coming to MSU, Joyce worked in the development/improvement of the road sector in Uganda. Through her graduate studies in Environmental Engineering, she hopes to acquire skills that will help her analyze and improve the environmental quality and sustainability in her country and in Africa as a whole. After graduation, she would like to work in government and research in the remediation of toxic substances and pollutants from the environment. Joyce enjoys reading, making friends, watching soccer and listening to music.

Joseph M'po Yeti Cohort: 2016
Country: Benin
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Science
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Joseph M'po Yeti is an undergraduate student majoring in Computer Science. Prior to MSU, he attended the African Leadership Academy, where he worked as Chief Executive Officer of Footprints Ltd, a student-run enterprise that aims at providing high quality branded merchandise to students and guests. Besides, Joseph was the Captain of the soccer team and served in the Student Government as a House Captain. Passionate about education and technology, Joseph wants to create a non-profit organization in his home country to provide access to primary education and new technologies in rural areas because he believes that technology tremendously improve lives and education is the most powerful weapon against poverty.

Agnes Ntapara Cohort: 2015
Country: Tanzania
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Electrical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Agnes is an undergraduate majoring in engineering. Agnes is the first of her family to attend college. Before she came to MSU, she was involved with various community service activities. She also started a successful chicken business with her mother, which still thrives. Agnes's interests lie in power and energy, and aims to work with the major power producing companies in Tanzania. She also plans to get a master's degree in electrical or petroleum engineering. She would like to start a power production company that will power her country and even extend to other parts of Africa. Agnes enjoys fitness and modeling.

Ngwe Ali Pechulano Cohort: 2015
Country: Cameroon
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Journalism
College: College of Communication Arts and Sciences

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Biography: Pechulano is a graduate scholar studying for a master's degree in Journalism. He holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) from the University of Buea, Cameroon. Before coming to MSU, Ali spent time mentoring children and volunteering as trainer and adjudicator for the University of Buea Debate Club. He's interested in development communication and journalism education, and telling audio-visual stories of development-related issues. After graduation, Ali would like to work for a non-profit organization that promotes community development, or in a reputable media institution. He would also like to pursue a doctorate in Media and International Development. He enjoys debating, singing, talking to people, watching documentaries, and photography.

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