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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Bevertone Anyong'a Cohort: 2016
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: James Madison College
College: James Madison College

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Biography: Bevertone is an undergraduate scholar pursuing a double major in Comparative Cultures and Politics and International Relations with a minor in Muslim studies. He values the concepts of education and setting a foundation for the accessibility of sustainable socioeconomic and environmental change for the youth. As a result, he has been involved in various community and service projects in his country. His ambitions include the hope to enrich the quality of life, promote patriotism, welfare and strengthen unity amongst our local and global community thus building on the basis of humanity and compassion. To dissolve the counterproductive walls of isolation within our society; the more cooperation within a society, the greater the advancement of that society as a whole and the individual through development in all aspects: Access to information and technology, cultural awareness and integration, an end to inequality, and overall wellbeing of all citizens. Today, to be a citizen of the world is to be open-minded and empathetic toward all cultures, nations, and beliefs, a concept that is now almost a standard and is highly beneficial to the human mind.

Pauline Wambua Cohort: 2014
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Public Policy
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Pauline received her Master's in Public Policy (MPP). Before joining the MPP program, Pauline spent time working in education, community development and research in Kenya. Her primary policy interests are education, international development and poverty reduction. During her graduate studies in public policy, Pauline obtained advanced knowledge and skills in the policy process and evaluation and plans to use this expertise to contribute to the resolution of the development problems in her community, her country, in Africa and the world at large.

Ebrima Camara Cohort: 2016
Country: The Gambia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Ebrima Camara is and undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Growing up from an extended family where the odds of a member being a university student is hardly imagined, Ebrima has not only become a first-generation student at Michigan State University but also a Scholar who wants to fulfill the dream of a generation. While in his country, he strived to impact lives at different social grounds, at high school amongst other societies, he served as the social secretary of the student’s welfare association, that helps to provide financial support to some underprivileged students. Immediately after high school graduation, Ebrima was employed at the Medical Research Council Unit-The Gambia, as a trainee laboratory technician under the Bio bank department where he later became a laboratory technician. Ebrima has interest in innovative health-care, he plans to build a reliable and fortified healthcare system that can cope with the challenges of the the twenty first century, he said :"Health in The Gambia like most African countries is growing admirably; however, low healthcare innovations to cope with disease outbreaks have left many in despair about the unfolding future. The concern over a sophisticated healthcare system that is worth trusting with beastly ailments like Ebola has overwhelmed my thinking and with daily experience of the hardship faced by people in my country only to see a tactful and compassionate Doctor at the Medical Research Council Unit-The Gambia, sets me into sheer waves of commitment and motivation -I am determined to be the change to a more sophisticated healthcare system that will instill the hope of a brighter future into the lives of people not only in my country but humanity as a whole."

David Rakojoana Cohort: 2016
Country: Lesotho
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Actuarial Science
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Before coming to Michigan State University, Deiv (as he prefers to be called) initiated several youth-centered programs, partnering with Peace Corps Lesotho and Anti-Drug Abuse Association Lesotho. He also worked as a volunteer Maths and Accounting teacher in one of the high schools in Mafeteng, Lesotho, and tutored for several students from home. Deiv's two growing foundations- Dress The Orphans Foundation and Lesotho Abroad Education Network- are centered around young Basotho, with the former focusing on soliciting clothes to redistribute to the extremely needy orphans and children, and the latter focusing on helping Basotho learn about "hidden" scholarship opportunities. The motivation behind the start-up of these foundations has been nothing short of determination instilled in him by struggles he faced growing up in the rural village of Matelile, Ha-Seeiso, and the financial assistance he got from a Peace Corp volunteer when he could not have gotten high school education had she not come to his rescue.

Naomi Kamitha Cohort: 2016
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Women and Gender Studies
College: College of Arts and Letters

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Biography: Naomi Kamitha is an undergraduate student in MSU majoring in Women and Gender Studies. Before joining MSU, Naomi chaired and engaged in clubs, was a member of her school's student council for three years, interned as a cashier with Equity Bank, volunteered with Equity African Leaders Program to mentor students applying to study abroad, was a volunteer mentor with the Wings to Fly Program in Kenya and was actively involved in Dandelion Kenya(a girls' rights activist program in Kenya). Naomi is passionate about working with young people and women in Africa to pursue gender equality in the very patriarchal society. She also advocates against Sexual Violence. Naomi is currently engaged in service learning at the Refugee Development Centre in Lansing as a tutor and hopes to continue working with the minority in communities in pursuit of their empowerment.

Gigi Ngcobo Cohort: 2016
Country: South Africa
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Media and Information
College: College of Communication Arts and Sciences

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Biography: Gigi Ngcobo is an undergraduate majoring in media and information with a concentration in production and film. With her degree she aims to succeed the likes of Oprah Winfrey and establish a production house in South Africa. Its aim will be to ensure that African news is accurately investigated, put at forefront and educates citizens. Prior to attending MSU she graduated from African Leadership Academy. There she completed her A-Levels whilst working as a presenter on two different TV shows that tackled mental illness as a growing pandemic in South Africa. She embodies curiosity and exudes charisma, her biggest strength is her authenticity.

Ewurama Owusu-Hammond Cohort: 2016
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Electrical
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Ewurama Owusu-Hammond is an undergraduate student majoring in Electrical Engineering. Before coming to MSU,Ewurama participated in community service projects, tutored kids who had difficulty in science related subjects and also volunteered at a local orphanage during the Christmas holidays.Ewurama aims to be the beacon of light for Africa by developing new ways to make electricity accessible and affordable for all. She is also passionate about entrepreneurship and hopes to create businesses for people in Ghana and Africa.

Jacqline Njeri Cohort: 2016
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Jacqline Njeri is an undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Before she came to MSU, Jacqline Interned at Equity Bank, one of the leading Banks in Kenya. Through the bank's mentoring program, she was able to mentor young high school students especially girls who are from financially disadvantaged families. Jacqline volunteered as a chaperone during the annual Wings to Fly Education and Leadership congress and also volunteered as a mentor during the Equity Leadership Program Induction. Through these and many other programs, Jacqline has been able to inspire young girls to take up leadership positions and has helped them develop and sharpen their leadership skills. Accessibility and affordability of quality health care services to the people in the rural communities is what Jacqline strives for. By forging partnerships with leading pharmaceutical companies and distributing agencies, the people in the most interior parts of Kenya and eventually in Africa will be able to access medication and even medical consultancy at very affordable rates. She also hopes to reduce the high mortality rate through formulation of more effective drugs and vaccines as a Biochemist. As she strives to work hard towards her goals she continues to mentor young students in leadership and academia.

Expery Omollo Cohort: 2016
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Expery Omollo is an undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry & Molecular biology/biotechnology. Before he came to MSU, Expery was a committed volunteer mentor of the wings to fly scholars and the current high school students his country Kenya. He founded the "uprising initiative" in his area which focuses on the cleanliness of the area to prevent common epidemics like cholera, malaria which are prevalent in where he grew up. Expery believes that by completing his studies here at MSU will enable him to solve these epidemics first hand from the laboratory. His plans is to create awareness to his countrymen and the whole of Africa to be aware of the epidemics that slowly kills the continent and try to prevent these contagious diseases from killing any more people. Expery continues to coordinate cleaning of his areas through the social media and is prepared to go back and continue with his quest in Kenya and Africa at large after completion of his studies.

Astley Siwela Cohort: 2016
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Economics
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Astley is an undergraduate student majoring in Economics. Prior to Michigan State he was involved in a vast array of community engagement activities which included feeding homeless children in his home town of Bulawayo. He also co-founded a social enterprise aimed at educating children born to young teenage parents in the township who exercised poor birth control and could not afford to send their children to school. Astley hopes to spur the economic and political transcendence of Africa through activism and to promote entrepreneurship through creating Africa's own Silicon Valley. He intends to continue serving his community and improve the lives of his fellow countrymen in Zimbabwe through volunteerism.

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