2015 MasterCard Scholars

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Nov. 5, 2015

MSU’s newest MasterCard Foundation Scholars include two graduate students

Joyce Mujunga Nakyazze came to Michigan State University to further her environmental engineering skills and battle drug-resistant bacteria in Uganda’s water supply.

Hilina Shibeshi is studying to become a structural engineer in her homeland of Ethiopia.Two of this year's MasterCard Foundation Scholars are the college's first graduate students in the program. Dean Leo Kempel greeted the students (from left) Hilina Shibeshi from Ethiopia and Joyce Mujunga Nakyazze from Uganda during a reception honoring the scholars on Nov. 3. 

Together, they are the first cohort of graduate students in the College of Engineering MasterCard Foundation Scholars program. 

Mujunga Nakyazze said the MCF Scholars program has presented her with the privilege of becoming an environmental engineer. “I am of the strong view that with my master’s in environmental engineering, I will be able to provide solutions to the environmental problems in Uganda, Africa, and the world at large,” she said. 

She hopes to graduate in spring 2017, and “I do look forward to share my skills and experiences with people back at home in Uganda.” 

Shibeshi said the MasterCard Foundation provides key leadership training for the scholars. “I believe with my master’s degree, I will be able to contribute to the construction industry of Africa, especially in the structural design sector,” she said. 

Shibeshi, who hopes to graduate in spring 2017 and return to Africa, joined other MasterCard Foundation Scholars during a welcome reception in the College of Engineering on Nov. 3. 

College of Engineering Dean Leo Kempel greeted the African scholars and noted their importance to MSU and their academic and cultural contributions in the college. “The research projects you will be involved with will change people’s lives,” he said. “Please share your experiences here with all of our students so 10 or 20 years from now we can look back on the impact of this program.” 

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars program at MSU is a nine-year initiative aimed at talented students, mostly from Africa, who will return to their countries to lead change and make a positive social impact in their home communities. The program is in its third year.

Mary Anne Walker, director of international programs in the College of Engineering, hosted the reception.

“The scholars in this program help the College of Engineering broaden its partnerships on the continent of Africa,” she said. “By bringing top students here to be trained and educated, and helping them tie into companies in Africa, we form a partnership to share innovative ideas and drive economic development,” she explained.

Associate Provost Steven Hanson, who also is dean of international studies and programs, said one-third of MSU’s 2015 cohort are students in the College of Engineering. Among the engineers students, about 30 percent are women. 

In the College of Engineering, the 2015 cohort includes the two graduate students and nine undergraduates. They join the college’s 13 other MasterCard Foundation Scholars from Africa for a current total of 24 MasterCard Foundation Scholars. 

The college celebrated the talents of the MasterCard Foundation Scholars and welcomed current and new students during a gathering on Nov. 3. Attending the festive event were Scholar Lerato Rametse, a political science major from South Africa, Scholar Perpetual Koech, a biosystems engineering major from Kenya, Study Abroad coordinator Maggie Blair-Ramsey, and Scholar Agnes Ntapara, an electrical engineering major from Tanzania. The 2015 MasterCard Foundation Scholars in the College of Engineering are:

Arnold Chiswanda, from Zimbabwe, civil and environmental engineering,

Perpetual Koech, from Kenya, biosystems engineering,

Duale Mahat, from Kenya, computer science,

Mponyana Mayangamutse, from Zimbabewe, electrical and computer engineering,

Ketelelo Moapare, from Botswana, civil and environmental engineering,

Agnes Ntapara, from Tanzania, electrical and computer engineering,

Joyce Mujunga Nakyazze, from Uganda, a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering,

Ebrima Njie, from Gambia, civil and environmental engineering,

Samuel Phiri, from Zambia, electrical and computer engineering,

Hilina Shibeshi, from Ethiopia, a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering, and

Amanuel Tesfamichael, from Ethiopia, electrical and computer engineering.

The 2014 MasterCard Foundation Scholars in the College of Engineering are:

Oswald Chisala, from Zambia, mechanical engineering,

Amanuel Goshu, from Ethiopia, computer science and engineering,

Sadiq Hanatu, from Nigeria, chemical engineering and materials science,

Orwell Madovi, from Zimbabwe, electrical engineering,

Millicent Mlauzi, from Zimbabwe, chemical engineering and materials science,

The 2013 MasterCard Foundation Scholars in the College of Engineering are:

Simbarashe Chidyagwai, from Zimbabwe, chemical engineering and materials science,

Vincent Karenzi, from Rwanda, civil and environmental engineering,

Mukangwa Masamba, from Zambia, mechanical engineering,

Jimmy Mkude, from Tanzania, civil and environmental engineering,

Arnold Mutayoba, from Tanzania, computer science and engineering,

Sharon Onyango, from Kenya, chemical engineering and materials science,

Blessing Tayisepi, Zimbabwe, civil and environmental engineering,

Joseph Thompson, from Nigeria, chemical engineering and materials science, and

The MasterCard Foundation

Michigan State University partnered with The MasterCard Foundation in 2012 on a $500 million education initiative. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program provides talented, yet financially disadvantaged youth – especially those from Africa – with access to high-quality education.

MSU is the only institution in Michigan – and the Midwest – to join the program, which is part of a global network of institutions. The university will receive $45 million in funding from the foundation to support 185 scholars throughout the nine-year program, which includes 100 four-year undergraduates and 85 master’s degree students. MSU will host the most scholars among the six U.S. partner institutions and welcomed the first cohort of scholars this fall with four graduate and two undergraduate students.

“We are pleased to host this reception each year,” Walker added. “ We want our students to know how important they are to the college and to the future of innovation and economic development on the continent.”

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars program broadens MSU's partnerships in Africa and promotes innovation and economic development while attracting some of Africa's best students to MSU.