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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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.

Pauline Wambua Cohort: 2014
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Public Policy
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Pauline received her Master's in Public Policy (MPP). Before joining the MPP program, Pauline spent time working in education, community development and research in Kenya. Her primary policy interests are education, international development and poverty reduction. During her graduate studies in public policy, Pauline obtained advanced knowledge and skills in the policy process and evaluation and plans to use this expertise to contribute to the resolution of the development problems in her community, her country, in Africa and the world at large.

Arhin Acheampong Cohort: 2014
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Criminal Justice
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Arhin is an undergraduate from Ghana, studying Criminal Justice. After serving as a chairman for his high school's disciplinary committee, he developed immense interest in the rule of law, order and stability. He believes that societies, nations, and lives will see great transformation through the effective enforcement of law and order and the application of the rule of law. Arhin is a co-founder of Ananse Reach Concept, a non-profit organization that promotes the active participation of youth in national development. He is also the youngest board member of the Youth with Christ Foundation, which seeks to empower people, especially the less privileged in society. He aspires to be an international lawyer and a politician.

Nana Abena Anti Cohort: 2014
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Nana is an undergraduate from Ghana majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a pre-medical focus. After a year of working as a personal wellness coach in Ghana, she discovered that most Africans cannot afford adequate nutrition despite the abundance of natural and nutritional resources. The problem is made worse by the absence of health educational and awareness programs and the lack of scientific research in dietetics and alternative plant medicine. Nana believes Africa possesses sufficient resources to keep its people healthy, but these resources are underutilized. After her education, she plans to return to Ghana and establish a research facility in the field of Pharmacognosy and alternative medicine. In doing so, she says, "I will be able to bridge the gap between orthodox and alternative medicine, to provide the best healthcare to my people."

Gobi Bah Cohort: 2014
Country: The Gambia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Neuroscience
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Gobi (Momodou) was born in Gambia. During his internship as a Veterinary Laboratory Technician in the livestock department under his country's Ministry of Agriculture, Momodou gained first-hand knowledge of the challenges farmers in Gambia experience. After his graduation with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology, he would like to help address some of these problems. His dream is to become an agricultural scientist (Biochemist/Biotechnologist) and to help enhance the development of agriculture in the country and increase food production in Africa. Momodou appreciates and credits the love, support and advice that he receives from his family, friends and community members. This support has encouraged him to pursue his academic goals and has strengthened his resolve to give back to the people of his country and of Africa after graduation.

Hepsiba Chepngeno Cohort: 2014
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Agribusiness Management
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Hepsiba is an undergraduate from Bomet, Kenya. She is majoring in Agribusiness Management. After receiving her degree, she plans to return home to work with Kenyan farmers to improve their yield, since farming is the only source of livelihood for most Kenyans. She was deeply distressed that the same farmers who toiled all year long could not feed their families, let alone take their children to school. She feels that if the farmers are taught better ways of farming to increase their crop yield, then poverty levels can be reduced. She lived in a rural area in Bomet, and saw first-hand how farmers and their families can go hungry, especially during unfavorable weather conditions. This inspired her interest to pursue a field of study that will help improve their lives.

Roberta Dankyi Cohort: 2014
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Nursing
College: College of Nursing

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Biography: Roberta Dankyi is a third year Nursing student with a minor in Environmental and Sustainability studies. She is passionate about making healthcare accessible to under served women and children in Africa. Roberta is the founder of the Bridge to Health Initiative, a foundation that seeks to educate the average Ghanaian citizen by equipping them with basic health information.As part of her commitment to help improve health outcomes for breast and cervical cancer patients, her partnership with the Tamale Teaching Hospital in Ghana is ensuring that women around the area are taught the self-breast exam and early signs of cervical cancer. She believes in Africa, and she believes that the MasterCard Foundation has taken well-appreciated and impactful steps by supporting talented young Africans who will help make Africa a better place.

Claire Gapare Cohort: 2014
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Neuroscience
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Claire is an undergraduate from Zimbabwe, majoring in Neuroscience. After receiving her degree, she plans to return to her home country and help young children who suffer from brain and other neuron-related diseases. In 2013, she founded a club called Photizo Christian Youth Club in her home country, which advocates for education for young girls. This was triggered by the realization of the struggles young girls go through to attain even a primary (elementary) education. Her long-term goal is to become a pediatric neurosurgeon.

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