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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Roland Ofori Cohort: 2014
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Roland received his master's in agricultural, food and resource economics, with a specialization in environmental and resource economics. Prior to coming to MSU, he was working in the Energy, Oil, and Gas Unit at the Ministry of Finance in Accra. He believes that earning an advanced degree through The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program will equip him with advanced knowledge in resource economics, and the necessary skills he needs to contribute more meaningfully and effectively to the Ministry's efforts at prudently managing Ghana's petroleum revenues for accelerated growth. Ofori says, "Ghana's good example of the fine and judicious implementation of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act has given me evidence that African economies can avoid the dangers and plights associated with the mismanagement of natural resource revenues."

David Makacha Cohort: 2014
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Public Relations
College: College of Communication Arts and Sciences

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Biography: David completed his Master’s in Public Relations in 2015. He says he comes from a background that has motivated him to work hard to change things around him. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is enabled him to pursue a degree in public relations, something that is not offered in his country. After completing his master's degree he hopes to work as a lecturer or in non-governmental/humanitarian agencies as a public relations officer or as a development office communicator. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. and establish a small public relations consulting firm in order to create employment opportunities. He lives by the saying: To be born poor is not an option, but to die poor—that's an option.

Buhle Mndzebele Cohort: 2014
Country: Swaziland
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Finance
College: College of Business

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Biography: Buhle received his bachelor's of Finance from the Broad College of Business in 2016. He grew up in poverty, with his mother raising several children on a very small salary. "I had to study hard and excel in school in the hope that I‘d have a brighter future, to help change things at home—and in my country at large," he says. He has been involved with a youth club project at orphaned children's soup kitchens in his hometown of Bhanga—planting gardens, distributing food, and motivating students so they will do better in school and in life. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program has allowed him to pursue his degree and return to his home country to use his skills to help improve the economy through the application of proper financial techniques. "The problem with our nation and continent is not the lack of money, but it is that the little money we do have is not well managed or invested," says Mndzebele. His goal is to apply his economic knowledge to solve problems in education, health, and finance in his county and become a successful businessman so he can use his companies to further eradicate the problem of poverty among Africans by providing jobs and financial assistance.

William Njobvu Cohort: 2014
Country: Zambia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Economics
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: William is an undergraduate studying economics. He plans to return to his home country after completing his studies at MSU in order to bring about economic gain and improve the livelihoods of the people in his community and in his country. "My studies at this university will help shape my understanding of the economy of my country and the world," says Njobvu. "With this knowledge, I will be able to help build the foundations of the change I want to see in my country. And with the different and new society values that I will gain here, I will be able to incorporate them with the social norms of my culture back home and help people understand the world better—and what needs to be done to make it a better place."

Eben Ansah Cohort: 2014
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Ebenezer received his master's in Community Sustainability in 2016. His goal after graduating is to become a Rural Development Economist. In this role, he will generate sustainable solutions for rural areas with agricultural development problems to improve the quality of life for the local community. Ebenezer hopes that his experiences and knowledge will have a major impact on the economic activities and livelihoods of the people in his home country of Ghana.

Jorem Awadu Cohort: 2014
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Rehabilitation Counseling
College: College of Education

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Biography: Jorem holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Community Psychology from Makerere University in Uganda and now a Master's from MSU in Rehabilitation Counseling (2016). His area of expertise and contribution is to assess, create and modify vocations for people with various disabilities while helping them to succeed.

Timothy Nakedde Cohort: 2014
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Plant Breed, Genetics & Biotechnology
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Timothy received his master's in plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology. He developed a passion for this field of study during his undergraduate years when he visited the National Agricultural Research Organization, the flagship agricultural research entity in Uganda, and was amazed at the progress they were making to address problems like disease and drought. He has returned to Uganda to become part of a new crop of agricultural researchers who use biotechnology to advance agriculture. Nakedde says, "We need to have a vibrant agricultural research capacity to overcome the problems of pests, diseases, and low crop yields that plague African agriculture."

Makafui Borbi Cohort: 2014
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Food Science
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Makafui completed a Master's degree in Food Science. Before coming to MSU, she was a teaching and research assistant at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. She is also the Grant Officer at Dynamic Research Access Media (DReAM), an NGO, which locally communicates scientific research findings to her community in Ghana. She was actively involved in educating various communities on diseases such as diabetes and hepatitis. Growing up in Ghana, she realized how much agricultural produce is wasted during bumper harvests. In the future, she plans to set up a food processing factory in Ghana to process and preserve fresh agricultural produce to minimize post-harvest waste and increase access of nutritional foods.

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.

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