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African Graduate Students Association Boosted by MasterCard Scholar Participation

Published: Wednesday, 05 Apr 2017
Author: The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program
Department: Office of the Dean

On March 25, The African Graduate Students Association (AGSA) held its Annual Research Conference at the MSU International Center in East Lansing, Michigan. During this conference, graduate students presented oral and poster presentations on issues in Africa.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program administrators and Scholars were major contributors to the conference. Dr. Chinwe Effiong, Assistant Dean of the program, led a panel discussion while Scholars Prisca Nzube Egboluche and Joyce Mujunga Nakyazze shared featured poster presentations. Egboluche presented a research question related to her studies of plant, soil, and microbial sciences: "How does cover crop diversity interact to regulate plant availability and soil microbial functions?" Nakyazze presented her poster on the topic of "Diversity and Abundance of Waterborne Viruses in Southwest Kampala". Alongside their presentations were an additional four poster presentations and 15 oral presentations by fellow students and peers.

Several other MasterCard Scholars attended the event in support of their peers and as a way to network with like-minded students.  Scholar Roselyn Wilbard Kaihula ('17) noted the importance of the research being presented.

"The research is meant to influence decisions and policies, and focuses on sustainable solutions for Africa's developmental challenges," Kaihula said. "The most important thing is to utilize interdisciplinary collaboration to ensure sustainable solutions."

Following the presentations was a panel discussion by Dr. Effiong with Dr. Jamie Monson, Director of MSU African Studies Center, and Dr. Leo Zulu, Associate Professor in the Department of Geology.

"The panel discussion addressed Africa's issues and progress to help define what development means in the African Context," Egboluche said.

The panelists focused on three main concepts during their discussion: gender inclusion and equality, youth coordination and empowerment, and the three pillars of development—people, planet, and profit. Attendees learned to place equal value on all genders while also including Africa's large youth population when discussing the development of Africa.

Dr. Felix Kwame Yeboah also attended the conference as keynote speaker. Dr. Yeboah is an assistant professor of International Development at MSU and a member of the Food Security Group in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics. Building on a theme throughout the conference, Dr.Yeboah's speech focused on the importance of exploring sustainable solutions for developmental challenges in Africa.    

The annual AGSA conference continues to create a space for African and non-African students at MSU to engage intellectually and socially with one another and their community, and to discuss challenges and opportunities for inclusive and sustainable development in Africa.

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