Dr. Kierstan Connors
Head of College & Career Counseling, GEMS Education Worldwide (UAE)

Dr Connors joined GEMS Education in 2015 as founding Director of College Counseling for the flagship technology-focused GEMS Nations Academy Dubai and serves in a centralized role as global Head of College & Careers Counseling – to develop GEMS global brand of excellence for University and Career Advising with UniConnect partnerships. With over 3 decades of experience managing and advising international students, families and school staff through the complexities of the holistic post-secondary application process on a global scale to ensure our GEMS philosophy of “Best Fit” pathways are explored for all students after they graduate from our GEMS schools. As founder of GEMS UniConnect partnerships and scholarships, she is uniquely qualified to support international students, schools and advising teams in their efforts to gain admission to not only the best traditional and non-traditional post-secondary pathways, but to the most selective universities worldwide as well. Dr Connors has earned dual accelerated degrees from Stanford University and Universidad de Panama, is a Master Teacher for 8 different curricula in Economics and English teaching and methodology, and has a PhD in Economics and International Literacy and Language Education Studies from Indiana University.


Best Fit Secondary Pathways for Post-Secondary Success: Using Innovation, Administration, Coaching and Inclusion to promote successful secondary choices and pathways for post-secondary student success through College & Career Counseling, tying purposeful secondary education to post-secondary options and successes on a global scale

College & Career counseling to promote Best Fit post-secondary pathways for all students, no matter what their challenges, is the life-blood and heart of every school. Using GEMS as an exemplary program, our International students have the power to create their holistic academic resume during secondary to create their Best Fit academic pathway after they graduate from high school-no matter what their curricula. Critical to Best Fit choices is using all secondary years to build a resume of academics, courses, extra-curricular programs, leadership, internships, career exploration, mentorships, research and community service to promote their learning and transition to post-secondary options that are focused on academic and career pathways. Our GEMS Best Fit Secondary Pathways for Post-Secondary Success philosophy is led by herself as Head of College & Careers Counseling Worldwide for over 50,000 GEMS secondary students in 8 different curricula and in 250 K-12 schools in 20 different countries.

During this workshop participants will know:

This presentation combines a forum for discussion, sharing and critical research from our 500,000 GEMS students worldwide to showcase best practices and pathway standards for developing a Best Fit Program and implementation plan in any international secondary school and any curricula. All secondary schools need to enhance and standardize their college and careers counseling opportunities – through university partnerships, advisor training, resource support, research, system enhancements etc. This presentation presents our key research and successes to give schools, advisors and administrators the opportunity to spark the need for change, design their own Best Fit program now.


Go Back to the Speaker List →