Published: Friday, 24 Feb 2017
Author: The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program
Department: Office of the Dean
The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at Michigan State University hosted a mentor's appreciation event on February 23, 2017. During this event, the program team recognized faculty & staff mentors and launched the Hall of FAME – Faculty, Advisors, Mentors, and Educators.
The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is supported by many individuals and groups across the university. Accordingly, the event was created to recognize the time and care that faculty, staff & administrators have dedicated to our MasterCard Foundation Scholars.
Dr. Isaac Kalumbu, Program Manager for The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at Michigan State University (MSU), began the event with an over view of the program and shared data which demonstrates outstanding Scholar success: 92% of Scholars have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or above; of those 92%, 66% hold a 3.5 GPA or above. Kalumbu credited mentor engagement for bolstering the student support initiatives that are built into the program. As the program reaches its 5-year midpoint and is catering to a growing number of graduates, MSU has begun to place more emphasis on facilitating Scholar transitions along three pathways; continued higher education, employment, and entrepreneurship. Kalumbu took the opportunity to highlight the upcoming transitions and anticipated the event would help connect graduating Scholars with professionals in their fields.
Dr. Chinwe Effiong, Assistant Dean for The MasterCard Foundation Scholars and Youth Empowerment Programs at MSU, echoed Dr. Kalumbu's sentiments by thanking the faculty, advisors, mentors, and educators (with a special mention to host parents as well) for their numerous contributions, which include direct supervision of academic programs, presenting at leadership development workshops, and assisting with employment and internship opportunities. She also recognized the additional efforts of several faculty & staff to provide emotional support to Scholars, serving as host parents – many going as far as welcoming scholars at the airport upon arrival.
Effiong attributed Scholar success to the "investment of time, love, and resources" on the part of those serving as faculty, advisors, mentors, and educators. She informed the invited guests that this kind of support is, "something you do from your heart, and we can't emphasize how important that is." Effiong shared that "anyone involved in any way should be proud." She also referred to the proverb of how it takes a village to raise a child, citing The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program as an illustrative example of this, as the more than 80 persons in attendance (as well as those who could not attend) comprise a vibrant and well run village for our Scholars.
While the primary purpose of the event was to demonstrate gratitude for the vast network of individuals and groups who advocate for MSU MasterCard Foundation Scholars, it was also a forum to recognize the Scholars who will be graduating this year. The graduating Scholars, who were all in attendance, were also featured in a video shown during the event where Scholars detailed their experiences and projected their ambitions.
Panashe Mayangamutse, a sophomore Scholar in the College of Engineering, gave a speech about how the scholarship is not only for the Scholars themselves; it is for so many back on the continent. She eloquently communicated in her speech, "Tonight is about the old lady in my village...it is about appreciating and celebrating the commitment and devotion of the MSU faculty and staff for your unwavering support. It is an honor to represent The MasterCard Foundation Scholars and echo our sincerest gratitude to you all for contributing to our successful transition. Your support goes beyond what you can imagine and it is not for me only."
Oswald Chisala, a junior in electrical engineering, performed "We are the World", a song by Michael Jackson that includes the lyrics "We are the world, we are the children, we are the ones who make a brighter day, so let's start giving."
Finally, graduating Scholar Florence Uwimbabazi (graduate student in public relations) gave closing comments and appreciation. "You are not only mentoring us, but the whole of Africa. We celebrate not only today, but we will celebrate tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow."
All faculty, staff and administrators involved with the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program received certificates of appreciation.