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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Nana Abena Anti Cohort: 2015
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."

Claire Gapare Cohort: 2015
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.

Rellika Kisyula Cohort: 2015
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Media and Information
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Rellika is an undergraduate from Kenya, studying Media and Information and Minor in Computer Science. Rellika is a graduate of The African Leadership Academy (ALA) in South Africa. At ALA, he was CFO of Sanyu Productions, a student-run enterprise which specializes in media productions. In ALA, Rellika also acted as a DJ, an audio-visual technician and as a filmmaker. In 2013, he attend the President's Annual Meeting in Addis Ababa, its theme, Technology in Africa. In the summer of 2014, Rellika interned with the Equity Bank and Equity Group Foundation as a documentary filmmaker and graphical designer. At Michigan State University, he is a filmmaker of Turn Productions, a former DJ at Impact 88.9FM, and member of IT club. In 2016 summer, Rellika interned with mSurvey as API Programmer and Data Scientist. In addition to technology and information systems, Rellika actively participates in volunteer work to teach village high school students basic programming and media production. This month (July), Rellika will be traveling to Uganda with former ALA students to present his project, "Increasing Interest in CS/IT/ICT4D.

William Yakah Cohort: 2015
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Neuroscience
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: William is an undergraduate student majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. From a young age William has served as a leader, and has been involved in many volunteer activities that gives him the opportunity to make meaningful impact to his community. He has observed that quality healthcare and education are not easily accessible to underserved communities. He is the President of Students for a Healthy Africa (SAHA) and an executive board member of Ghana Educational Collaborative, two non-profit organizations that promote quality healthcare and education in Sub-Saharan Africa and Ghana respectively. He believes that quality education and healthcare are not privileges but basic rights, and he looks forward to making revolutionary contributions in these sectors in Ghana and Africa.

Felix Ishimwe Cohort: 2015
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Geological Sciences
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Felix is an undergraduate scholar majoring in agribusiness management. He is also a graduate of Bridge2Rwanda Scholars program, an organization that selects and equips talented African students with entrepreneurial servant leadership skills to attend global universities and return to their home countries to make a positive impact. After finishing high school, he volunteered in an orphanage in Kigali where he tutored former street kids and orphans. After graduating from MSU, Felix intends to return to Rwanda to develop his country's agriculture sector, working with institutions which promote farmers' development, especially in rural areas. His long-term goal is to create an agribusiness venture which will create jobs in his community, reduce income inequality, and foster the country's economic stability.

Esther Kilaja Cohort: 2015
Country: Tanzania
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: General 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.

Aaron Thokozani Chikakuda Cohort: 2015
Country: Malawi
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Human Nutrition
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Aaron is a graduate scholar studying human nutrition and dietetics. Aaron holds a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and nutrition from the University of Malawi and a diploma in clinical medicine from Malawi College of Health Sciences. Before coming to MSU, Aaron spent time working in the pediatrics department in a central hospital, doing community service and nutrition research, and assisting university professors as staff associate in clinical nutrition. His primary interests are clinical dietetics, public health, rural development and poverty reduction. Aaron's goal is to contribute to the eradication of malnutrition on the continent and around the world. After graduation, Aaron would like to become a registered dietician and work with institutions of higher learning to help train dietitians in the health sector and clinical nutrition researchers. Aaron enjoys reading, jogging, making friends, and watching comedies and documentaries.

Oswald Chisala Cohort: 2015
Country: Zambia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Electrical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Oswald is an undergraduate from Zambia and a double major in Electrical Engineering and Theoretical Physics. Prior to his enrollment at Michigan State University, he was involved in many tutoring and mentoring programs via private organizations and the U.S. Embassy, both of which awarded him opportunities to chaperone young minds and develop the next generation of creative thinkers in Zambia. His career goals involve founding the Unicouger Research and Technology Institute (U.R.T.I.) - an ultramodern multinational facility dedicated to the development of efficient, effective, and eco- and user-friendly technologies for the transportation, communication, energy and biomedical sectors. He understands that though scientific leaders play significant roles within their societies, they are limited by the unavailability of adequate technologies. Ultimately, Oswald hopes to implement technological change throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and, eventually, the world. An advocate for the importance of education, he hopes to earn a doctorate in Aerospace Engineering and Physics, with a concentration in Flight System Development.

Arnold Chiswanda Cohort: 2015
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Civil Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Arnold is an undergraduate student who will be studying civil engineering. Before his Spartan experience began, he volunteered on a weekly basis at a child care center in Harare. He hopes to use his bachelor's degree to improve the state of Zimbabwean infrastructure, which suffers from neglect and mismanagement. He is also interested in developing sustainable engineering practices in Africa. Chiswanda enjoys sport and politics, and is grateful to the MasterCard Foundation for the unique challenge to become one of the architects of the future of Africa.

Roselyn Wilbard Kaihula Cohort: 2015
Country: Tanzania
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Organization & Community Leadership (MSW)
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Roselyn is a graduate scholar majoring in social work, specifically organization and community leadership. Roselyn received her bachelor's degree from the Institute of Social Work in Tanzania. Before coming to MSU she was a leader of the department of children's civil rights in a non-profit. Her primary interests are human rights advocacy, social development, and economic growth. Her goal is to use her education to protect children's lives in Tanzania and on the continent through policy changes. She also plans to pursue her doctorate in social work. Roselyn enjoys listening to music, reading, watching movies, dancing and traveling.

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