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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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.

Joyce Mujunga Nakyazze Cohort: 2015
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Environmental Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Joyce is a graduate scholar pursuing a master's degree in environmental engineering. Joyce holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Makerere University Kampala, Uganda. Before Coming to MSU, Joyce worked in the development/improvement of the road sector in Uganda. Through her graduate studies in Environmental Engineering, she hopes to acquire skills that will help her analyze and improve the environmental quality and sustainability in her country and in Africa as a whole. After graduation, she would like to work in government and research in the remediation of toxic substances and pollutants from the environment. Joyce enjoys reading, making friends, watching soccer and listening to music.

Ebrima Njie Cohort: 2015
Country: The Gambia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Civil Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Ebrima is an undergraduate student majoring in engineering. Ebrima grew up in an environment with very limited resources, development and awareness. "I always try to maximize my efforts so as to produce the best both in academics and character, however I realized that with the zeal and capability all embedded in me, I can enormously help not only my, community, nation or continent but also the world at large," he says. His zeal for volunteerism and improving his community meant he participated in many community and volunteer activities, including teaching. He plans to return to Gambia and use his experience and knowledge to solve a diverse range of problems.

Agnes Ntapara Cohort: 2015
Country: Tanzania
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Electrical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Agnes is an undergraduate majoring in engineering. Agnes is the first of her family to attend college. Before she came to MSU, she was involved with various community service activities. She also started a successful chicken business with her mother, which still thrives. Agnes's interests lie in power and energy, and aims to work with the major power producing companies in Tanzania. She also plans to get a master's degree in electrical or petroleum engineering. She would like to start a power production company that will power her country and even extend to other parts of Africa. Agnes enjoys fitness and modeling.

Ngwe Ali Pechulano Cohort: 2015
Country: Cameroon
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Journalism
College: College of Communication Arts and Sciences

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Biography: Pechulano is a graduate scholar studying for a master's degree in Journalism. He holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) from the University of Buea, Cameroon. Before coming to MSU, Ali spent time mentoring children and volunteering as trainer and adjudicator for the University of Buea Debate Club. He's interested in development communication and journalism education, and telling audio-visual stories of development-related issues. After graduation, Ali would like to work for a non-profit organization that promotes community development, or in a reputable media institution. He would also like to pursue a doctorate in Media and International Development. He enjoys debating, singing, talking to people, watching documentaries, and photography.

Hafsa Abass Cohort: 2015
Country: Kenya
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Accounting
College: College of Business

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Biography: Hafsa is an undergraduate studying accounting. Despite growing up in an atmosphere that discouraged education for girls, she completed high school and took a gap year before starting college to do community service. She was an active member of the Kenya Red Cross Society, spearheading local blood drives. She also mentored high school students through the Equity African Leadership Program. After graduation, Hafsa plans to go back to Kenya and use her knowledge of accounting to enhance poverty eradication. She would also like to establish an NGO that will build more schools in the rural parts of Kenya and advocate education for girls.

Noor Ali Cohort: 2015
Country: Somalia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Chemical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Noor is an undergraduate Scholar majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He grew up in the Hagadera refugee camp in Kenya. Popularly known as "profesa," Noor has an enduring reputation in the Dadaab refugee camps and served as a role model to a large number the students there. He says, "The journey to be in university and to becoming an engineer was impossible and remained only a dream for a long time. But through hard work and commitment everything is possible." After completing high school, Noor volunteered in a wide range of activities, including community work in the refugee camp and teaching chemistry and math. Noor is planning to return to Somalia to help his country recover from the civil war that made him a refugee in Kenya.

Amal Matovu Cohort: 2015
Country: Botswana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Economics & Environmental Studies
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Amal is an enthusiastic undergraduate from Botswana and Uganda. She is currently pursuing a degree in Economics and plans on working in government to create economic policies that are beneficial to communities, and that help increase standards nationwide. "Once established," Amal says, "I'd like to give other youth the opportunity to pursue higher education because knowledge is as powerful as a spear in a lion!" Before coming to Michigan State University, Amal was involved in a self-started community initiative where she offered free tuition for primary and secondary students. Apart from this, she volunteered at a children's home and spent seven months working in a bursar's office. These experiences have kept her in contact with higher authority figures, have humbled her, and sparked her interest in corporate social responsibility, which she hopes all business will adhere to one day.

Amanuel Goshu Cohort: 2015
Country: Ethiopia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Amanuel is an undergraduate from Ethiopia, majoring in Computer Engineering. Before he came to Michigan State University, he served as a leader for his high school's Science & Information Technology Club. The club's goal was to provide free academic tutoring services for computer literacy programs for needy high school students. Amanuel believes that Africa's developmental challenges are due to the lack of advanced technology and technological expertise. After graduating from MSU, he intends to go back to Ethiopia to help increase access to advanced technology among the disadvantaged. Amanuel is passionate about telecommunications and computer programming, which fuels his ambition to establish a multinational telecommunications service provider that will be headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

Arhin Acheampong Cohort: 2015
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.

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