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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Auguste Shikongo Cohort: 2015
Country: Namibia
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Organization & Community Leadership (MSW)
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Auguste is a graduate scholar pursuing a master's degree in social work, specifically community and organization leadership. Auguste holds a bachelor's degree in social work from University of Namibia. Before coming to MSU, Auguste volunteered with Catholic Aids Action, Namibia's first faith-based NGO responding to the country's HIV/AIDS crisis. The NGO provided home-based family care and counseling, youth education and prevention, and care and support for orphans and vulnerable children. After graduation, Auguste plans to return to Namibia and improve the living conditions for marginalized, disadvantaged, and vulnerable communities across Africa. Auguste enjoys watching television, shopping, and spending time with children.

Florence Uwimbabazi Cohort: 2015
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Public Relations
College: College of Communication Arts and Sciences

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Biography: Florence is a first year graduate scholar studying for a master's degree in public relations. Florence holds a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, Rwanda. Before joining the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, Florence was member of the Young Workers Generation, a motivational group for Rwandan youth that offers a forum to openly discuss and address issues in their communities. Her primary interests are international communications, media relations and women's empowerment. After graduation, Florence would like to work for a non-profit organization to mentor young girls to become advocates for women's issues and achieve their career goals. She would also like to implement far-reaching policy changes to make education more accessible. Florence enjoys watching debate shows, documentaries and movies, and listening to music.

Hannatu Sadiq Cohort: 2015
Country: Nigeria
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Human Development & Family Studies
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Hannatu is an undergraduate from Kogi State in the North Central part of Nigeria and is studying in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. After receiving her degree, she intends to go back to her home country to fulfill her dream to organize an awareness campaign on environmental sanitation and to rid the country of various forms of environmental pollution through effective waste management and recycling programs. Back home, she is a member of the Nigerian Girls' Mentorship Program started by the Federal Government in 2012 where she was mentored and inspired by prominent Nigerian women. Hannatu would like to mentor younger Nigerian females as a way to give back. She says, "The MasterCard Foundation is the greatest opportunity I have had and the best way I can truly show my appreciation is to let my actions speak now and in the future, through my various give-back projects."

Lucas Manhice Cohort: 2015
Country: Mozambique
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Civil Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Lucas is an undergraduate born in South Africa, but has roots in Mozambique. He studies Civil Engineering and hopes to contribute to Africa's future infrastructure development. He is a graduate of The African Leadership Academy (ALA), an institution that aims to create positive transformation in Africa by developing its future leaders. His experiences at ALA exposed him to social problems around the world and taught him possible approaches to address them. In addition, ALA enabled him to view Africa's challenges not as problems but as entrepreneurial opportunities. He hopes to apply this mindset during his pursuit of various infrastructural projects in the future to construct Africa's skyscrapers, highways and dams. During his studies at Michigan State University, Lucas hopes to strengthen his problem-solving skills and engage with individuals from diverse disciplines. This, he believes, will help him become more creative and effective at fostering positive change in Africa.

Lerato Rametse Cohort: 2015
Country: South Africa
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Psychology
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Lerato is an undergraduate from South Africa, studying Psychology. In her lifetime she has experienced discrimination based on race, gender and other social or personal attributes. These experiences developed her passion to become an activist and serve young South Africans and the disadvantaged who experience various forms of disempowerment. In her home country, she went through entrepreneurial leadership training and African studies, and broadened her perspective on the world and on the African continent. She plans to major in Psychology and Political Science, then go back to Africa and implement change in the political and industrial systems of the continent.

Edward Opoku Cohort: 2015
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Edward is a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics. His working experience with an agricultural-input dealer company exposed him to many challenges that farmers face in Ghana, especially cycle of poverty in which Ghanian farmers work. After graduation, Edward would like to work in a government or for a non-profit organization where he would focus on economic impacts of agricultural research, technology, system efficiency, and the economics of science and technology policies to help smallholder farmers in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

Duale Abdullahi Cohort: 2015
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Science
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Duale is an undergraduate studying Computer Science. Growing up in an environment where resources were scarce, Duale was actively involved in volunteer activities during high school, and later formed a youth outreach program with his classmates, dedicated to creating awareness around good governance and gender equality. He believes that selfless involvement in the community and striving to reach personal goals are at the core of a life well lived. Duale intends to return to Kenya to be an agent of change, armed with the relevant skills and knowledge for the common prosperity of his community.

Nzube Prisca Egboluche Cohort: 2015
Country: Nigeria
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Plant, Soil, Microbial Sciences
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Nzube is a graduate scholar studying crop and soil sciences. She obtained her bachelor's degree in soil sciences from the University of Nigeria Nsukka. Before she came to MSU, she participated in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at Nnamdi Azikikwe University Nigeria as an administrative officer and academic adviser. She also taught theoretical and practical agricultural science and organized service learning opportunities for students to work with local farmers. After graduation she would like to contribute to management and improvement of soil fertility in Nigeria and Africa at large to ensure food security for a growing population. She would also like to lecture in crop and soil sciences and continue her research.

Tsion Gebissa Cohort: 2015
Country: Ethiopia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Biochemistry
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Tsion is an undergraduate studying chemical engineering. She worked in an Autism Centre in Addis Ababa, and also volunteered at a non-profit organization helping the elderly in her community. She plans to go back to Ethiopia and work in the chemical engineering industry. Her goal is to create opportunities for less privileged African students from Sub-Saharan Africa to give them access to proper education.

Balindile Motsa Cohort: 2015
Country: Swaziland
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Biochemistry
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Balindile is an undergraduate scholar studying biochemistry, molecular biology and biotechnology. Despite difficult circumstances growing up, Balindile worked hard in school and has been heavily involved in women's empowerment and volunteer projects in Swaziland and in South Africa. She has worked in care points and preschools, volunteered in orphanages, and helped start and run a company focused on women's empowerment. Balindile plans to return to Swaziland and become an active player in the research for a cure for HIV. She believes that with the right education the health sector in Swaziland can be improved to benefit everyone in the country. Balindile hopes to stand as an inspiration to young Swazi girls who dream to have a career in the sciences and show them that it can be done. She wants to start her own empowerment program to help women establish a stronger presence in the economy of Swaziland.

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