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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John Tengatenga Cohort: 2013
Country: Malawi
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: James Madison
College: James Madison College

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Biography: John is an undergraduate studying international relations in James Madison College. Working with the David Peace Project, which is aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence of people, has had a major influence on his career choice. Tengatenga says, "I want to become a diplomat or policy analyst and help my country by promoting good relationships with other countries." The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship will enable him to pursue his studies and learn about world politics and economics, as well as how large organizations—such as the United Nations—work.

Hailu Abreha Cohort: 2013
Country: Ethiopia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Biomedical Laboratory
College: College of Human Medicine

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Biography: Hailu is an undergraduate from Ethiopia majoring in biomedical laboratory science. After receiving his degree, he plans to return to his home country to help in the fight against rampant diseases. For three years, he was a member of an anti-HIV organization in his country that went from place to place teaching about HIV/AIDS. During that time, he realized that a knowledge gap can greatly affect society. This, coupled with the fact that there is a severe shortage of skilled workers in the field of medicine in his country—particularly in the biomedical field—spurred him on to earn a degree that would enable him to help his community. His interest is in biomedical engineering, and his long-term goal is to work as a research scientist.

Joseph Ajao Cohort: 2013
Country: Nigeria
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Business Administration
College: College of Business

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Biography: Joseph is from Nigeria and received his MBA from Michigan State University (MSU) in 2015. Prior to coming to MSU, he worked at Rocket Internet, a technology incubator; he says Rocket's drive to create opportunities for Nigerian entrepreneurs inspired him to pursue an advanced degree at a top business school. His dream is to create opportunities for new and early-stage technology companies in his home country. He hopes to launch a $100 million venture capital fund within six years and invest in companies that could potentially generate at least 100 new jobs annually.

Simbarashe Chidyagwai Cohort: 2013
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Mechanical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Simba is an undergraduate student from Zimbabwe studying mechanical engineering. He has an interest in bio-mechanics and how engineering can be used to facilitate better health care delivery, particularly in developing countries in Africa. He also has a strong interest in the career development of young people, a passion he uses in his role as a career adviser in the Center for Spartan Engineering.

Chiwimbo Gwenambira Cohort: 2013
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Crop and Soil Sciences
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Chiwimbo graduated in 2014 with a Master's in Crop and Soil Sciences and is currently pursuing her PhD in the same discpline at MSU.

Timothy Ikime Cohort: 2013
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Zoology
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Timothy of Kenya graduated in 2015 with a Master's in Zoology. He intends to safeguard the diverse wildlife resources in his country, which are currently under threat due to poaching, biodiversity loss, and habitat destruction. He wishes to ensure that these resources are conserved for the current and future generations. Having completed his undergraduate studies in wildlife management and seeing many of the flora and fauna species become more threatened day to day, Ikime is looking forward to working with other academicians and leaders to ensure that the threats are minimized, if not eradicated. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in related fields and possibly teach in the area of natural resource management at a university. His life goals are to help the needy in society receive education, encourage young scholars to pursue careers in flora and fauna conservation, and generally fight illiteracy in Kenya.

Vincent Karenzi Cohort: 2013
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Agribusiness Management
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Vincent is an undergraduate from Rwanda majoring in agribusiness management and environmental studies. He is inspired by Maj. General Fred Gisa Rwigema, who started a liberation war in October 1990 and stopped the 1994 genocide against Tutsis. Karenzi has recognized the economic injustice that a high percentage of his country's people are facing. In Rwanda, 85 percent of the population depends on farming, but their hard work doesn't always lead to the expected benefits. Karenzi says, "I envision my future working with farmers in the villages of East African countries, especially in Rwanda." His dream is to solve the economic injustice being done to agriculturists in the deep villages of Africa. The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship Program will provide the platform for him to be that "change agent."

Beatrice Kemboi Cohort: 2013
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Actuarial Science
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Beatrice is an undergraduate from Kenya who is studying Actuarial Science. She hopes to use her career to transform her country economically and socially by eradicating disease, poverty, and ignorance. She says, "My dream is that Kenya will one day be a first-world country." With the help of the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship, she is determined to work toward accomplishing that dream.

Jimmy Mkude Cohort: 2013
Country: Tanzania
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Science
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Jimmy an undergraduate from Tanzania studying computer engineering. His biggest dream is to become president of the United Republic of Tanzania, so that he can "enforce honesty, integrity, and commitment."

Arnold Mutayoba Cohort: 2013
Country: Tanzania
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Science
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Arnold is an undergraduate from Tanzania studying computer engineering. His passion is to help his home country further develop its information technology system. This MasterCard Foundation Scholar believes that Tanzania has the potential to grow exponentially—both economically and socially—due to vast economic development, including the mining of gas and oil along the Mtwara region coast. "Being a Tanzanian who is a patriot, I intend to return home to facilitate the technological transformation, which will eventually rise due to the advancement in the economy," says Mutayoba. Applying his telecommunication and computer engineering skills, his goal is to "increase the use of computing in the market system to develop reliable information that can be easily reached by a touch on a phone or through broadcasts, as I see here in the United States," Mutayoba adds. As he learns, he says he is continually evaluating what he will be able to accomplish once he earns his degree.

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