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Scholars Continue Winning Streak with OISS Essay Contest

Published: Friday, 15 Dec 2017
Author: The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program
Department: Office of the Dean

Continuing with the streak, 2017 is the fourth year in a row that a Mastercard Foundation Scholar has won or placed in the Top Three for the International Essay Contest hosted by the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS). The annual essay contest began in 2004 with the goal of building greater cross-cultural understanding and learning from the experiences of international students whose time living outside of their own culture has led to powerful insights and inspiring stories.

This year, Jacqline Njeri, a sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology major, won the Third Prize. Njeri wrote about her cultural struggle and challenges of trying to "fit in" based on the information and "warnings" she had received prior to coming to the US.

The win for a Scholar was especially exciting this year as Jacqline's essay was printed in the Lansing State Journal—the top newspaper in the region. You can read her full essay from the newspaper feature here.

Alongside Jacqline, there were a number of Scholars with honorable mentions, including:

Abii-Tah Chungong Bih – freshman, James Madison College
Claire Gapare – senior, neuroscience
Mike Kamwana – freshman, mechanical engineering


The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program would like to congratulate each Scholar recognized for their essay this year. It takes bravery to tell a personal story in a public way.