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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Joseph Thompson Cohort: 2013
Country: Nigeria
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Chemical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Joseph is an undergraduate from Nigeria majoring in chemical engineering. His goal is to learn about better methods of producing fertilizers geared toward the needs of rural farmers in Nigeria, and how to design useful processes for converting animal waste into useful biofuels to generate renewable energy. His degree will equip him with the knowledge required to address complex societal issues such as global warming and gas flaring. Upon completion of his degree, he will return to his home country. Thompson says,"I envision myself working with other experts to engender a rapid development and help solve societal problems." He would also like to set up a foundation to assist economically disadvantaged students in reaching the "zenith of their proposed career choices."

Mavis Dome Cohort: 2012
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Public Policy
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Mavis is from Gara-Tongo Ghana, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University for Development Studies. She graduated from MSU with a Master’s Degree in Public Policy & Political Science from the College of Social Science in 2014. She believes that The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program has given her a platform to contribute to the development of communities and to serve as a role model to other African youth faced with obstacles to education. Mavis returned to Ghana in 2013 to join the Centre for Democractic Development, an Afrobarometer affiliate.

Victor Jayeola Cohort: 2012
Country: Nigeria
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Food Science
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Victor is from Nigeria where he obtained his bachelor’s degree. He is graduated with a Master’s Degree in Food Science & Human Nutrition in 2014. Victor has a passion for independent research in the area of food harvesting, marketing, and food safety. When asked about his future aspirations, Victor explains, “My desire to contribute towards scientific research on food safety in Nigeria has coupled with my innate proclivity for teaching, and this has spurred a desire in me to pursue a professional career in teaching and research.”

Thelma Namonje Cohort: 2012
Country: Zambia
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Thelma is from Zambia where she obtained her bachelor’s degree. She graduated with a Master’s Degree in Agricultural, Food & Resource Economics in 2014. Thelma believes that The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program has enhanced her motivation to give back to Africa in the role of an agro-economist who can forecast future trends and make sound recommendations based on the application of economic theory and knowledge. Thelma has been working with MSU partner, Alliance for Commodity Trade (ACTESA) in Eastern and Southern Africa for several years and wishes to continue to make her contributions through this organization for the development of Zambia. Thelma returned to Zambia in the summer of 2014 to join the Indaba Agricultural Policy Institute in Lusaka Zambia.

Rebecca Nassimbwa Cohort: 2012
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Rehabilitation Counseling
College: College of Education

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Biography: Rebecca is from Uganda where she obtained her undergraduate degree at Makerere University. She graduated with a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the College of Education in 2014. Rebecca returned to Uganda and is using her skills and knowledge to develop communities by helping some of the most disadvantaged. She is working to empower and sensitize people about the importance of treating others equally regardless of their disabilities, background, or health condition. She also hopes to advocate for reforms to the education system that will positively impact learners with disabilities. Through its emphasis on service to others, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program has helped Rebecca sharpen her vision “to facilitate the rejuvenation of hope, determination, and the acquisition of skills in order to achieve better standards of living for all.”

Stella Nhanala Cohort: 2012
Country: Mozambique
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Plant Breeding, Genetics, & Biotechnology
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Stella is from Mozambique where she obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Algarve. She graduated with a Master’s Degree in Plant Breeding, Genetics & Biotechnology. She has followed her passion for biosafety and genetic engineering by being involved in a project of the African Union New Partnerships for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) called the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE). Stella wishes to be a role model for girls in her country and to give back by “creating a revolution in Mozambican agriculture through the use of methods and approaches used in biotechnology.” Stella realizes that challenging oneself is key to personal development and to influencing others in positive, lasting, and meaningful ways. She believes in one of Nelson Mandela’s maxims: ‘until I change myself, I cannot change others.’

Barbara Kotei Cohort: 2012
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Economics
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Barbara completed her program in Economics in 2016. Barbara wants to give back to her community by working in the public health sector in Africa. She sees a need for loopholes and gaps to be filled in the health system, and she would like to bring her ideas to the table.

Mohamadou Diatta Cohort: 2012
Country: Senegal
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Mohamadou, graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor's in Computer Engineering. He has been cultivating the idea of giving back to his community and believes that he can make an impact when he goes back to Africa. He said, "Being chosen as a MasterCard Foundation Scholar puts me on the path to create the next Silicon Valley somewhere in Africa."

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