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New cohort of MasterCard Foundation Scholars prepares to be changemakers

third cohort MasterCard Foundation Scholars at ASU posing on Hayden Lawn
September 24, 2014

This fall, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at Arizona State University welcomed its third cohort of 40 students from across sub-Saharan Africa. ASU is now host to a total of 70 MasterCard Foundation Scholars from 17 countries, and will welcome its fourth cohort of scholars in August 2015. The students study a wide variety of majors across the university.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program seeks to develop next-generation leaders by providing comprehensive scholarships to academically talented young people with demonstrated leadership potential. These young people are committed to
 making a difference in their communities, yet face significant barriers to continuing with their education.

As the new cohort transitions to studying at ASU, the scholars express appreciation for Sun Devil hospitality and speak with enthusiasm about how the university will equip them as changemakers.

Aken Tong Kon, an engineering student from South Sudan, feels welcomed at ASU.

“What I like best about the university is the friendship and the ready-to-help attitudes among Sun Devils, including Changemaker Central, the tutoring centers and the academic advisers, among others making my beginning at ASU more lively and more interesting,” Tong Kon said.

Tong Kon also looks forward to making the most out of his experience. He says his goal is to “get the best education that America can provide and take it back to my home country to address the impending challenges my degree could help solve.”

Looking forward to her four years at ASU, Rasheeda Mohammed, an exploratory social and behavioral sciences student from Ghana explains her goals: “To reach the highest of my academic potential, to develop myself in ways that will equip me for the world beyond ASU, to network and to have fun.”

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program selected ASU to provide comprehensive scholarships for a bachelor’s-level education to 120 students over seven years. Scholars at ASU benefit from one-on-one advising; peer mentoring; entrepreneurship and social innovation resources; career and leadership development support; group meetings with other scholars; and signature courses, such as "Sustainability Issues in Africa."

Scholars will use their four years at ASU to equip themselves to "go-back and give-back," utilizing their educations, skills and experiences to contribute to change in their communities. Even as they begin their first year of studies, they have big visions.

As John Asigbekye, an electrical engineering student from Ghana explained, “I dream of having an impact on Sub-Saharan Africa by developing more efficient, more affordable solar harnessing equipment to abate the current energy crisis. That's precisely why I'm majoring in electrical engineering.”

Limon Bogere, a chemical engineering student from Uganda, summed up his dream for his four years at ASU: “Altogether, ASU will help me become a visionary leader who can create positive change in my community.”

For more information about the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at ASU, contact Aryn Baxter, director, at