2023 CIS Higher Education Awards: Three awards, three inspiring recipients
2023 CIS Higher Education Awards: Three awards, three inspiring recipients
2023 CIS Higher Education Awards: Three awards, three inspiring recipients

Guidance counsellors and admissions professionals at CIS member schools and universities make up an impressive community supporting student transition to higher education worldwide. It’s our great pleasure to recognise and celebrate their work each year through the CIS Higher Education Awards. 

The inspiring nominations for the recipients below provide a snapshot of the significant impact of this community on young people’s lives.




Photo of the three CIS Higher Education Award Recipients 2023


Read their inspiring nominations below


Congratulations Karen! T. Michael Maybury Award

‘She’s amazing, irreplaceable [...] a wonderful example to everyone in her orbit.’


The presentation of the CIS T. Michael Maybury Award is a tradition and an opportunity for us to honour a member of the CIS higher education community who merits special recognition for a high level of service and leadership.  

Mike Maybury, former Executive Director of CIS, devoted a lifetime of service to promoting international education and global understanding. During his years at the helm of CIS, Mike served us as a dedicated leader whose tireless work on behalf of higher education was instrumental in fostering the educational programmes we now carry forward. With this award, we honour a member of the CIS higher education community whose work continues Mike’s legacy and who has also made significant contributions to international education.

We are delighted to present this award to Karen Scott in 2023. Karen is Director of International Admission at the Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, USA.

Karen has dedicated her career to supporting international students applying to and enrolling at her university. For forty years, she has been a welcoming face, greeting international students as they arrive and helping them make their university a home away from home. Colleagues say Karen ‘is often organizing or participating in campus events that support international students’ and is ‘a fixture at their programmes, a comforting face for young people so far from home.’ 

Karen has been meeting international students around the world for decades and is considered a pioneer in the field of international student recruitment. A colleague noted that she was ‘recruiting internationally, long before it was popular or easy. She was leading tours to newly emerging markets, which have now become mainstays on all university visit lists. All of us doing the work today have Karen, and other groundbreaking individuals like her, who have paved the way for the rest of us.’ 

Karen has a long track record of service to CIS, serving on various Regional Service Committees and leading many student recruitment tours in Latin America and Asia. 
Not only has she served as an integral part of her campus community, welcoming and supporting international students, she has also mentored other admissions professionals, including those new to the profession. One colleague said, ‘Her mentorship has been a guiding light for me. Her kindness, patience, and willingness to listen have made her not just a mentor but also a trusted confidante.’ Another colleague noted, ‘She openly embraces new people in the field or on tours and actively promotes interactions with the school counselling community.

Karen is the first to invite someone new to dinner, organize meetings and socials with counsellors and include others in her meetings with the counselling community. Her generous spirit and zeal for inclusion is something we should all model.’ Another admissions professional added, ‘Her professional knowledge, international connections, and true ability to be serious without taking herself, the work, or life too seriously provide a vital balance that the rest of us strive to emulate.’

It is clear from the nominations that Karen has had a significant impact on all the people around her. She is praised for her ‘quick wit, compassionate soul, boundless spirit, and kindness to everyone.’ Her commitment to cultural exchange has brought diverse perspectives to her campus, enriching the education of every student. Nominators said, ‘She’s amazing, she’s irreplaceable,’ and ‘she is a wonderful example to everyone in her orbit.’ A colleague said, ‘What you might not know is what she means to our campus and our office. She is our soul.’


Congratulations Lyssa! Future Leader Award

‘A rising star in our industry […] positively leading and mentoring other future leaders.’


The CIS Future Leader Award was created to honour an up-and-coming international admissions officer or school counsellor who demonstrates strong leadership potential and embodies the CIS mission.

We are delighted to present this year’s Future Leader Award to Lyssa Paquette! Lyssa is Manager of Student Recruitment and Retention at Bishop's University in Quebec, Canada.

Lyssa has been praised for her student-centric approach, with one nominator saying her ‘warm and welcoming’ demeanour has helped them ‘advise and direct thousands of students both on campus, in person, on the road, and virtually.’ She advocates for international students, not just within her institution but in various regional and governmental groups.

One nominator said Lyssa is ‘invaluable not only in the daily operations of our unit but in making connections with students and regularly liaising with the local government to ensure the institution’s and students’ voices were heard and considered.’ Lyssa ‘brings forward issues and realities that international students face when choosing or considering study’ in her region, including issues around language, medical insurance, study permits, post-graduate work permit requirements, and more.

Lyssa sits on a recruitment advisory board for her region, which helps to determine what international student recruitment activities and initiatives her regional government will help fund and support. A colleague notes that she also ‘regularly works collaboratively with our fellow universities across Canada to ensure that we're promoting all that we have to offer and that students have everything they need to make educated and informed decisions when approaching their postsecondary studies.’ She also collaborates with all the other post-secondary institutions in Quebec to build a comprehensive schedule of school visits and events, an effort that serves all students, including underrepresented and indigenous groups in the region.

Those who have worked with her say Lyssa is ‘passionate about keeping empathy, diversity, and understanding at the forefront of what we do. In times of adversity, she consistently provides a guiding presence in our community and department and reminds us of the importance of what we do.’ A colleague said that with Lyssa as ‘a direct manager and supervisor, myself and colleagues have been able to grow our own personal skillsets and be better admissions officers as a result.’ Another nominator said, ‘I truly think that she is a rising star in our industry and has contributed greatly to the world of international education already. She is positively leading and mentoring other future leaders.’


Congratulations Keith! Peggy Templeton Strong Award

‘Quietly and un-assumedly goes about creating excellence in every aspect of our profession’

The CIS Peggy Templeton Strong Award is an honour established to recognize a member of the CIS guidance community who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of international school guidance and counselling.  

Peggy Templeton Strong enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the field of international school guidance. She devoted herself to serving students and mentored countless guidance counsellors and international admissions representatives. Peggy’s vision, commitment, and exemplary standards serve as an inspiration to us all. With this award, we honour a member of the CIS guidance community whose work continues Peggy Templeton Strong’s legacy.

This year’s recipient is Keith Layman, ISD Counselling Department Head, at the International School of Düsseldorf in Germany.

Keith is described as a ‘quiet leader amongst the international counselling community.’ He has ‘made significant contributions to international school guidance and have done so for many, many years, completely without ego or selfishness.’ He ‘consistently goes above and beyond to assist other counsellors in their work.’

Colleagues have said that Keith’s ‘expertise and willingness to share his wealth of knowledge makes him an exceptional resource.’ He has built and maintains numerous files and databases to share knowledge with other counsellors, updating them each year, sharing generously with his peers. A colleague notes, ‘he's always the first one to discover a change, a new policy, etc. and makes sure we hear about it in our WhatsApp group.’

Counsellors who have participated in university fly-ins with him have said his meticulous note-taking skills are a highlight—documenting details and insights and willingly sharing his notes with others. ‘This generosity exemplifies his commitment to fostering collaboration and growth within our community.’ Another nominator said, ‘he also embodies the CIS mission and ethos of well-being by modelling self-care and building community amongst this large community. I have seen him reach out to newcomers in larger counsellor gatherings when other people seek out long-lost friends.’

In addition to all he does for his colleagues in the profession, he does even more for his students at his school. A peer said his students ‘are truly blessed to have such a world-class counsellor to help them navigate through the processes of applying to universities in multiple countries on several continents—and to help guide them through the myriad of challenges that all adolescents face.’

Those who know him well say, ‘he quietly and un-assumedly goes about creating excellence in every aspect of our profession. He is fun, funny, and radiates warmth wherever he goes. His genuine care for others and ability to create a positive and supportive environment are qualities that make him a true asset to our profession.’


Nominations are open year-round!

We invite nominations from our community throughout the year. Who made a lasting impression on you due to their excellent work? Consider nominating them for one of these awards in 2024. Learn more



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2023 CIS Higher Education Awards: Three awards, three inspiring recipients
  • University admission & guidance
2023 CIS Higher Education Awards: Three awards, three inspiring recipients