Wellesley welcomes three new MasterCard Foundation Scholars

Joining the Class of 2018 are MasterCard Foundation Scholars are: (left to right in photo) Mebatsion (Meba) Gebre from Ethiopia, Sarah Nzau from Kenya, and Lisa Luka from Zimbabwe.

Mebatsion (“Meba”) Gebre ’18 hopes to help Ethiopians learn how to use energy resources more effectively

Mebatsion (“Meba”) Gebre ’18 comes from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There she won a highly competitive scholarship to the International Community School of Addis Ababa, where she spent her high school years. She was involved with a number of activities, including theater and Model Union. Meba plans to pursue chemistry, astronomy, and engineering while at Wellesley with the goal of returning to Ethiopia to work in the energy sector. She believes Wellesley will help her “aim higher” in her life goals and inspire her to do great things.

Lisa Luka '18 would like to become a neurosurgeon and hopes to work with UN charities

Lisa Luka ’18 lives in Harare, Zimbabwe. A standout high school student, Lisa attended the Hellenic International Academy, where she won the Resolve and Determination Award. Her gift for mathematics made her a valuable member of the school quiz team and science Olympiad team. She wants to become a neurosurgeon, as she is fascinated by biology and the way that biology and chemistry labs are designed. Lisa also hopes to work with United Nations charities and employ her research abilities to work for cures for AIDS, cancers, and other life-threatening diseases around the world. 

Sarah Nzau '18 plans to study biochemistry and return to Kenya to work in the pharmaceutical industry

Sarah Nzau ’18 is from Mombasa, Kenya. She graduated from Memon High School in 2013 and placed 25th in the nation on the countrywide KCSE exams. After graduating, she completed a year-long internship with the Equity Bank of Kenya, one of the largest banks on the continent. Sarah plans to study biochemistry at Wellesley with an interest in chemical engineering. Ultimately, she wants to return to Kenya to work in the pharmaceutical industry while promoting the importance of female leadership.

And our returning MasterCard Foundation Scholars:

Martha Khalayi Aywa '17 hopes to improve access to healthcare in Kenya

Martha Khalayi, a MasterCard Foundation Scholar from Emmabwi, Kenya, graduated from Moi Girls High School. Her future goal is to improve access to healthcare for people in need. The closest hospital near her home is 20 kilometers sway. "From my summer internship, I feel even more interested in healthcare access, especially for people with lower incomes and lower knowledge levels. I plan to get more exposure in the healthcare and research field."

As a sophomore at Wellesley, she is interested in Spanish, biology, and chemistry—two of which will be her majors, and she hopes to travel to Latin America or Spain for an immersion program.  "I am pursuing my interest in other cultures by talking to people about their cultures and sharing mine, as well as by studying Spanish, which I really enjoy. As a member of the Slater International Organization, I get to meet people from different countries and states and learn more about their cultures. I also enjoy service and have been on service project trips to New York and New Orleans, where I also got to explore these US cities and their rich cultures." 

Refilwe Kotane '17 aims to be among South Africa's strong-willed female leaders

MasterCard Foundation Scholar Refilwe hails from Pretoria, South Africa. At school she was a debater, an athlete, and the president of the Generation Earth Club. Refilwe, who was particularly attracted to Wellesley because of the College's history of developing female leaders, wrote, "South Africa is ready for strong-willed, innovative female leadership, and I am confident that with the right undergraduate education, I will be able to claim this responsibility."

Now a sophomore, she says, "I am now set on majoring in neuroscience and minoring in philosophy. Furthermore, I am interested in pharmaceuticals and business, and would like to work in the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa. Also, because of the great professors at Wellesley, I have taken a special interest of philosophy, especially philosophy of the mind.

"What I might tell prospective MasterCard applicants is that being a MasterCard student at Wellesley provides the unique opportunity to be a part of a small community of extremely driven individuals who use their diverse experiences and passion for the betterment of the African continent to excel academically and in other parts of their lives." Photo: Refilwe with her friend Mashadi Kekana (left), a Wellesley sophomore from South Africa who is majoring in psychology.

Martha and Refilwe reflect on their first semester at Wellesley.

Wellesley looks forward to welcoming these promising, talented young African women to Wellesley, where they will pursue their intellectual passions and curiosities through a liberal arts education. We will ask them to think critically about the needs of Africa and how they can make a difference.  Beyond the classroom, students will have the chance to develop their leadership skills through participation in student organizations, service projects, and internships. They will emerge with the expertise and preparation to become the future women leaders on the continent of Africa.