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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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.

Perpetual Koech Cohort: 2015
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Civil Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Perpetual Koech is an undergraduate scholar majoring in Civil Engineering. She believes that education is the only bridge between the poor and the rich and is therefore taking strides in making her imagination become a reality. She spent her gap year after high school volunteering as a community tutor and championing for youth empowerment in her community, Kenya. Her desire and determination to be a leader will be perpetuated by her position as a Spartan Success Coach at Michigan State University. Inspired by her humble upbringing, Perpetual values community service and therefore hopes to dedicate her time do good works. In completion of her studies, her goal is to help solve problems in Kenya and extend to other parts of Africa especially in the fields of agriculture and infrastructure.

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.

Joyline Chepkorir Cohort: 2015
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Nursing
College: Nursing

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Biography: Joyline Chepkorir is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a minor in Health Promotion at Michigan State University. Before her university studies, she volunteered in her hometown as a high school tutor and mentor. She is an alumna of the Education and Social Empowerment Program where she represented her cohort in visiting and caring for patients suffering from fistula at the Gynocare Fistula Center in Eldoret, Kenya. She hopes to apply her knowledge and skills in Nursing to tackle health issues in Kenya and other parts of Africa through research and nationwide awareness campaigns, especially for cancer. Her empathetic attitude towards terminally ill patients drives her passion to pursue Nursing and help in finding the cure for the fatal diseases.

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

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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.

Nikkita Ngalande Cohort: 2015
Country: Zambia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Actuarial Science
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Nikkita is an undergraduate scholar studying actuarial science. The second in a family of five, Nikkita has lived most of her life in Lusaka, Zambia. Before she came to MSU, Nikkita volunteered at 1000 Hearts Foundation, a non-governmental organization that aims to alleviate the plight of underprivileged children. She taught primary school children mathematics and science during the school holidays. Nikkita's goal is to return to Zambia and apply her financial risk knowledge to develop policies that will positively alter the Zambian economy. She also sees herself working with other MasterCard Foundation scholars to build a technology development hub in Africa, working with talented young entrepreneurs to impact underserved communities.

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

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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.

Walamatien Coulibaly Cohort: 2014
Country: Cote D'Ivoire
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: MBA/ Supply Chain Management
College: College of Business

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Biography: Walamatien received his Master's of Business Administration with an emphasis on Supply Chain Management. For eight years, he was a high school teacher in Cote D'Ivoire, and during this time he realized that one way to increase school participation is through school nutrition. A mismanagement of the national school-feeding program has motivated him to earn a degree that would enable him to help his country and he hopes to do that through the knowledge gained in his program at MSU.

Regis Nisengwe Cohort: 2014
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Community Sustainability
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Regis received his Master's in Community Sustainbility. He has been conducting volunteer work related to the environment through youth organizations in Rwanda and in other parts of Africa. During that time, he was intrigued by how difficult it is to prioritize environmental protection in areas and communities where poverty is the main problem. Learning more about how to reconcile environmental protection and poverty reduction will enable him to take part in the promotion of community-based green development. Regis has returned to Rwanda and is currently employed with One Acre Fund to continue to pursue these areas and make contributions to his country.

Jimmy Vareta Cohort: 2014
Country: Malawi
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Biomedical Laboratory Science
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Jimmy received his Master's in Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Before attending Michigan State University, he was involved in HIV/AIDS and malaria research with reputable biomedical research organizations in Malawi. Through this experience, he realized his country needs more people with advanced skills in biomedical research. This prompted him to go back to school to acquire more knowledge and skills so that he can contribute to solving public health problems facing his country. Jimmy has returned to his home country of Malawi where he is helping in the fight against infectious diseases through biomedical research and teaching the next generation of biomedical scientists at the Malaria Alert Centre.

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