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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Amanuel Tesfamichael Cohort: 2015
Country: Ethiopia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Electrical Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Amanuel is an undergraduate student studying electrical engineering. Before he came to MSU, he took part in a program that introduced the production and use of small-scale clean energy from natural waste in rural and remote areas where the Ethiopia's power grid did not reach. Amanuel plans to advocate for clean energy, using his education and future job experience to gain expertise in the field. He believes increasing awareness of green energy, and serving as a leader in the field, will facilitate great change. His goal is to see Africa running on clean, green, and efficient power systems.

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.

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.

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.

Ketelelo Moapare Cohort: 2015
Country: Botswana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Civil Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Ketelelo is an undergraduate studying civil engineering. At the age of 13 he helped Peace Corps volunteers set up the first community library in New Xade. Ketelelo co-founded Ride For Life Botswana, a charitable project aimed at helping children with disabilities by riding bicycles to raise funds. He also volunteered with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative Teen Club program in Gaborone where he tutored children living with HIV and AIDS in science and mathematics. Unreliable energy supplies, lack of drinkable water, and lack of investment in research and development are some of the challenges Ketelelo hopes to address when he returns to Botswana.

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.

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.

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