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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Talitha Pam Cohort: 2016
Country: Nigeria
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Community Sustainability
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Talitha Pam is a Nigerian graduate student in the department of Community Sustainability at MSU. Over the years Talitha has been involved in a variety of projects with various development organizations including A Rocha, Tearfund and World Renew. Four years ago she co-founded an organization called Eden Creation Care Initiative that primarily focuses on conservation and environmental awareness with communities. Upon completion of her degree Talitha plans to continue work with Eden and other development organizations. She desires to develop the expertise to critically analyze the multifaceted issues of poverty, economic livelihood, food security and resource management in Nigeria. This knowledge will help her develop and implement successful community intervention programs. It will also enable her to consult and give management support to Nigerian government parastatals involved in sustainable development. Long term goals for Talitha include being involved in academia to provide guidance and instructions for future generations committed to community sustainability. Talitha has a deep sense of stewardship for the environment and has coordinated tree planting campaigns and community clean up exercises to create awareness on environmental care and sustainability. She is committed to the actualization of a better earth, which she believes is attainable, especially if we all take individual responsibility.

Violet Acumo Cohort: 2016
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Public Policy
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Violet is an graduate studying public policy.

Phoebe Tuyishime Cohort: 2016
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Nutritional Science
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Phoebe is an undergraduate studying nursing.

Derrick Dwamena Cohort: 2016
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Neuroscience
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Derrick Asante Dwamena is an undergraduate student majoring in neuroscience. Prior to coming to MSU, Derrick started an epilepsy awareness campaign, founded a youth development program called Mentoring the Next Generation and co-founded a charity organization that donates bi-annually to local charities. He believes that his pursuit of higher education in MSU will grant him opportunities and the kind of networks that will aid him is developing those startups back home to their fullest potential. With regards to his major, he intends to make health care on the continent more accessible and affordable to all people no their financial standing.

Eustace Akagha Cohort: 2016
Country: Nigeria
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Packaging
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Eustace is an undergraduate studying packaging.

Isaac Hayford Cohort: 2015
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Forestry
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Isaac is a graduate scholar studying towards a master's degree in forestry. He holds a bachelor's in Forestry from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Upon graduation, Isaac intends to work at a research institution in Africa and ultimately pursue a Ph.D. to build a career in teaching and research in his native country of Ghana. He hopes to produce practically-oriented graduates to contribute to the development of solutions to the numerous pressing challenges confronting the forestry industry in Ghana and the continent at large.

Daniel Muhwezi Cohort: 2015
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Department of Community Sustainability
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Daniel is a graduate scholar pursuing a master's in community sustainability. Daniel holds a bachelor's degree in Information Technology and partial MBA from Makerere University-Uganda. In 2005 he partnered with two friends to form COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa (CIYOTA), an organization that seeks to transform Africa by educating and empowering socially responsible entrepreneurial leaders to unite communities and create sustainable prosperity. He is also a co-founder of Ubuntu Trust Co Ltd, a for-profit organization that deals in micro-finance. In addition to working as an analyst in business strategy and finance, Daniel plans to pursue a PhD in Agribusiness.

Josine Mutuyimana Cohort: 2015
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Food Science
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Josine is an undergraduate student studying food science. Growing up in a poor family helped her develop a passion for giving back. Before coming to MSU, she volunteered with Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) in her home village, educating young girls in to fighting HIV/AIDS, starting small businesses, and preparing for interviews. Josine plans to return to Rwanda and work as quality assurance manager. She wants to help eradicate malnutrition-related diseases by ensuring food quality. She also believes that improving food industry in Rwanda is the key to improving Rwandans' life expectancy and general health.

Samuel Phiri Cohort: 2015
Country: Zambia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Electrical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Samuel is an undergraduate studying electrical engineering. Before coming to MSU, Samuel participated in a science youth club project at Kamulanga High School in his hometown of Lusaka. He tutored sixth, seventh, tenth and twelfth graders, assisted in his school library and Natural Science laboratory, and helped motivate students to succeed in school. Samuel plans to return to his home country and use his electrical engineering skills to improve Zambia's technological infrastructure. He also aims to become a successful entrepreneur, working to eradicate poverty among Africans through jobs and specialized training.

Hilina Shibeshi Cohort: 2015
Country: Ethiopia
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Civil Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Hilina is a graduate scholar pursuing a master's degree in structural engineering. Hilina holds a bachelor degree in Civil Engineering from Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, Ethiopia. Before coming to MSU, Hilina worked for a construction company as a technical engineer both in the office and on-site. Hilina is interested in enhancing her skills as a professional structural engineer. After graduation, Hilina plans to return to Ethiopia and become a licensed practicing engineer, working for a construction, design or consulting company. She is confident that the academic and practical experience she will gain at MSU will her allow her to contribute positively to the construction industry in Ethiopia and across the continent.

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