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ASU Partners With The MasterCard Foundation to Build New Social Learning Network for Young African Scholars

Arizona State University will partner with The MasterCard Foundation to create a new social learning network to support participants of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, which prepares next-generation leaders in Africa.

The digital learning community developed by ASU will link MasterCard Foundation Scholars with the tools, resources, and relationships to build upon their educational experiences through the Program and better aid and contribute to their hometowns and nations. Download Full Image

The new social learning network designed by ASU will support The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program’s mission to prepare children and young adults in the developing world, particularly in Africa, to lead change and make a positive social impact.  Eventually, the social learning network will link all 15,000 Scholars with each other and alumni.

“Today’s announcement reflects ASU’s role as a hub of interdisciplinary scholarship, discovery, and development,” said Dr. Michael Crow, President of ASU.  “All of our faculty, staff, and students actively work to positively impact the global community and create innovative solutions.”

The platform enables MasterCard Foundation Scholars to connect with their peers to share knowledge and resources.  ASU designed the platform with input from Scholars, interviewing participants to understand their needs, interests and technology preferences.  As a result, the platform delivers a personalized learning experience based on each MasterCard Foundation Scholar’s interests. The new online platform will deliver content, such as learning modules, discussion boards, and other electronic resources based on Scholars’ individual preferences designed to help them further their personal and academic development.  The platform also allows Scholars to earn electronic credentials that enable them to demonstrate to others their progress towards developing leadership skills.  The learning platform delivers a digital strategy to sustain MasterCard Foundation Scholars’ connections across Africa and the world.

“ASU and The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program share not just a commitment to make education more accessible, but a desire to help students use their education to benefit their communities,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “We chose to work with ASU to develop this social network because the school continues to innovate and pioneer new technologies that will allow MasterCard Foundation Scholars to connect with each other across more than 50 countries that they call home.” 

The MasterCard Foundation created the Scholars Program to help youths with academic promise become leaders in their communities.  The Program – a $500 million, 10-year initiative – aims to serve 15,000 young adults and children by providing them with academic and professional support.  The Program provides a range of services, including comprehensive college scholarships for students, career counseling and leadership training. 

Today’s announcement marks an expansion of ASU’s partnership with The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program.  ASU, a partner educational institution with the Foundation, currently enrolls 116 MasterCard Foundation Scholars pursuing undergraduate degrees at ASU. Those Scholars come from 20 countries and collectively are pursing 48 majors.

The project, supported by The MasterCard Foundation, covers the cost of developing the new platform for the next five years.  Jacqueline Smith, Executive Director of the Office of University Initiatives, and Bethany Weigele, Director of Lifelong Learning Initiatives, will lead the development of the new online community for Scholars.  Leah Lommel, Chief Operating Officer of EdPlus, will advise on the technical aspects of the platform.  In addition, the project backs research by ASU’s Dr. Aryn Baxter that will analyze the role of social networks in supporting international scholarship programs. 

ASU plans to launch the platform to the existing network of MasterCard Foundation Scholars in 2016.

Media relations specialist, Media Relations and Strategic Communications