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
Irene Yayishimiye Cohort: 2016
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Engineering
College: College of Engineering

Read Biography

Biography: Irene Yayishimiye is an undergraduate student majoring in Computer Engineering. She graduated her high school from Lycée de Kigali, where she focused on Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science. She worked with several groups and clubs during her high school years, including Red Cross where she was Club Leader. Outside of school, she is focusing on activities that will prepare her for a career in Information Communication Technologies. She also leads the Mozilla Rwanda Community translation team, where she works as a mobilizer and translator. Last year, she worked with a local health care center to help new mothers understand nutrition planning. She also worked with HVP GATAGARA, a school helping children with visual impairments to sensitize girls and teach physically handicapped children how to overcome physical limitations through playing sports.

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

Read Biography

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

Read Biography

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

Read Biography

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

Read Biography

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

Read Biography

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

Read Biography

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.

Esther Kilaja Cohort: 2015
Country: Tanzania
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Supply Chain Management
College: College of Business

Read Biography

Biography: Esther is a business major undergraduate student. In high school she worked hard and was awarded an international IB scholarship in a prestigious high school in Tanzania (IST). Esther is compassionate, strong willed and focused. She has worked in her mother's textile shop her entire life, which is where her love for business was nurtured. Encouraged by her father to study supply chain management, Esther plans to start her own business that will help young African scholars who are passionate and ambitious to take risks and prosper. Esther is inspired by her mother, who works hard every day to ensure her children are successful.

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

Read Biography

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

Read Biography

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.

MCF Facebook MCF Twitter MCF Youtube MCF Instagram MCF wordpress

#MCFScholars on Social