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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Nicolas Umuhizi Cohort: 2016
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: MBA
College: College of Business

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Biography: Nicolas Umuhizi Nsabimana is pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Administration at Michigan State University (MSU) and holds a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness from The National University of Rwanda. Before joining MSU, Nicolas has worked on various development projects in Rwanda. This work has included helping seed growers to improve their business, raising awareness of the importance of nutrition, implementing income generating projects for subsistence families and most recently promoting social entrepreneurship amongst smallholder farmers. Nicolas is pro social justice and he sees entrepreneurship as a major component of sustainable development. During his spare time, he enjoys playing Underwater Hockey and soccer, hiking and traveling.

Hazel Moyo Cohort: 2016
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Human Development & Family Studies
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Hazel Moyo is a graduate student majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. Before she came to MSU, Hazel was involved in relief teaching in the remote parts of her country, partook in health expos to raise awareness of healthy living,and was engaged in several benevolent altruistic activities, to increase the wellbeing of the people around her. Hazel hopes to bring positive change in all the facets of society, by helping people expand their capabilities and enlarge their choices, so that they can lead long healthy lives. In addition to her passion for positive development Hazel hopes to help eradicate social inequalities so that every person the world over may lead a decent life.

Anissa Chitwanga Cohort: 2015
Country: Malawi
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Social Work
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Anissa is a graduate scholar studying for a master's degree in Social Work, with organization and community leadership as her major. Anissa Volunteered as a Peer Educator helping to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in rural Malawi as well as her University. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Humanities from the University of Malawi with a concentration in English and Psychology. She was also an English teacher at Kamuzu Academy for three years before she came to MSU. She hopes to help improve the livelihoods of children in rural Malawi and across the globe especially the continent of Africa. She aspires to make Malawi a better place for children. She believes children are the future, and their childhood and upbringing determines who they become in life. Anissa's dream is to use this opportunity to make sure children are protected and taken care of, to make a difference, and to bring positive change in their lives. Anissa loves traveling, reading and meeting people.

Kevin Affoukou Cohort: 2016
Country: Benin
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Kevin (Thierry) Affoukou is a graduate student majoring in agricultural economics with emphasize in agribusiness management. Over the last 6 years, he held a position as Assistant researcher where he participated in implementing several regional projects, coordinate consultations for many companies like Root Capital and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and contributed publishing papers addressed issues relating to innovation and gender in food security. Kevin is interested to deeply understand how agribusiness plants add value on raw agricultural products and how theses activities impact employers especially women in terms of decision power in household, access to health services, improvement of children education and social status .

Hafsa Abass Cohort: 2015
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Accounting
College: College of Business

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Biography: Hafsa is an undergraduate studying accounting. Despite growing up in an atmosphere that discouraged education for girls, she completed high school and took a gap year before starting college to do community service. She was an active member of the Kenya Red Cross Society, spearheading local blood drives. She also mentored high school students through the Equity African Leadership Program. After graduation, Hafsa plans to go back to Kenya and use her knowledge of accounting to enhance poverty eradication. She would also like to establish an NGO that will build more schools in the rural parts of Kenya and advocate education for girls.

Noor Ali Cohort: 2015
Country: Somalia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Chemical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Noor is an undergraduate Scholar majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He grew up in the Hagadera refugee camp in Kenya. Popularly known as "profesa," Noor has an enduring reputation in the Dadaab refugee camps and served as a role model to a large number the students there. He says, "The journey to be in university and to becoming an engineer was impossible and remained only a dream for a long time. But through hard work and commitment everything is possible." After completing high school, Noor volunteered in a wide range of activities, including community work in the refugee camp and teaching chemistry and math. Noor is planning to return to Somalia to help his country recover from the civil war that made him a refugee in Kenya.

Ange Kakpo Cohort: 2014
Country: Benin
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Ange received his Master's in Agricultural, Food, and Resources Economics. Before coming to Michigan State University, he worked in the Crop-Small Ruminants Project based in four West African countries, as a monitoring and evaluation officer. With the research skills he has acquired during his training, Ange would like to help the huge number of poor farmers in Benin by creating an NGO dedicated to serving them. Through this NGO, he will work with small-scale farmers to implement food security based projects. He hopes to strengthen 3,000 farmers' livelihoods within the first three years, and doubling this number in the following two years.

Arthur Muneza Cohort: 2014
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Fisheries & Wildlife
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Originally from Rwanda, Arthur Muneza grew up in Kenya where he developed a strong connection with wildlife through the scout movement. As a scout leader, Arthur led various community service projects such as cleaning the Nairobi River, sweeping police stations and volunteering in children’s homes. Arthur received his Master’s in Fisheries and Wildlife, specializing in wildlife conservation. Arthur’s Master’s research on Giraffe Skin Disease has illuminated a species and a disease that has been largely ignored by both the scientific community and public. In March 2016, Arthur was the first recipient of the Leiden Conservation Foundation Fellowship grant, which covers full tuition of his PhD program with the Research on the Ecology of Carnivores and their Prey laboratory at MSU. At the same time, Arthur will be working as the East Africa Coordinator for the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, where his primary role is to network with researchers and conservation managers from NGOs, iNGOs and government institutions to support and implement conservation strategies that secure the future of giraffe populations in East Africa. These experiences, along with his involvement in the scout movement, have inspired Arthur to advocate for better wildlife protection while at the same time engage local communities so that indigenous people can make a living out of the benefits provided by a viable ecosystem. His interests are population management, wildlife ecology, conservation action plans implementation, and large carnivores and their prey.

Eva Tetteh Cohort: 2014
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Public Policy
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Eva received her Master's in Public Policy in 2016. She is passionate about issues in development and poverty reduction, and her quest is to break the manacle of poverty which has crippled many people in her home country and in other developing countries. She believes that earning her advanced degree through the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program has equipped her with the skills and knowledge she needs to engage in results-oriented research, where she will find solutions to promote development, poverty reduction and also influence policy decision making in Africa and the world at large. Her dream is to pursue research and other academic endeavors. Eva also hopes to establish a community library in her neighborhood to improve the children's reading and writing skills.

Jackline Umurerwa Cohort: 2015
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Nursing
College: College of Nursing

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Biography: Jackline is an undergraduate student studying pre-nursing. Before coming to MSU, Jackline got the chance to participate in the tutoring club where she helped primary students to prepare for their national exams. Jackline plans to operate her own clinic or hospital in Rwanda. She also plans to lead workshops to train other nurses and doctors as a way to ensure improvement in the health services in Rwanda.

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