Home US Government Scholarships Wendy Alexander Appointed to ApplyBoard’s UK Advisory Board

Wendy Alexander Appointed to ApplyBoard’s UK Advisory Board

Wendy Alexander Appointed to ApplyBoard’s UK Advisory Board

ApplyBoard, the online platform that empowers students around the world to access the best education, is excited to welcome the esteemed Wendy Alexander to its UK Advisory Board. Wendy joins fellow board members Nick Hillman, Mary Curnock Cook, Sir Steve Smith, and the Right Honourable Jo Johnson. 

The board, first founded in 2020, is composed of distinguished education leaders and changemakers that aim to guide and support ApplyBoard’s expansion within the United Kingdom, delivering upon a shared mission to educate the world.

Wendy Alexander Joins ApplyBoard’s UK Advisory Board

Wendy Alexander is a Professor of International Education; Vice-Principal, International at the University of Dundee; and the Trade and Investment Envoy for Higher Education for the Scottish Government.

She belongs to the Department for Education’s Education Sector Advisory Group as well as the British Council Board of Trustees, chairs the Global Advisory Board for Times Higher Education Student, and has had an impressive and distinguished career in international education and strategy consultancy.

As a former Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Paisley North, Wendy held several Scottish Government cabinet posts from 1999 through 2011 (including as Minister responsible for Further and Higher Education), and was the Scottish Labour Party Leader from 2007 to 2008.

Wendy is a member of the Investment Advisory Board of Scottish Equity Partners LLP, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Patron of Social Investment Scotland, and a member of the UK Government’s Education Sector Advisory Group.

“With such a distinguished resume and skill set, Wendy Alexander will contribute immensely to ApplyBoard’s UK Advisory Board,” said Meti Basiri, Co-Founder and CEO of ApplyBoard. “Her passion for international education aligns with ApplyBoard’s mission to educate the world. We’re honoured to work alongside Wendy and the other members of our UK Advisory Board to help students achieve new educational opportunities in the United Kingdom.”

Wendy had this to say:

“I am delighted to join ApplyBoard because I first became an international student in Canada at 16, over forty years ago. Then, as now, the opportunity to live, study, and experience another country is transformative, shaping the rest of your life.

Today, ApplyBoard’s mission is to make these sort of life-changing opportunities accessible to literally hundreds of thousands of students globally—smoother, faster, and better supported.”

UK Advisory Board Leadership

A photo of the Right Honourable Jo Johnson, leader of ApplyBoard's UK Advisory Board.

The Right Honourable Jo Johnson

The board is led by The Right Honourable Jo Johnson, former Minister of State for Universities, Science & Innovation and Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, who was appointed Chairman of ApplyBoard International in 2020. 

Mr. Johnson’s extensive knowledge and advocacy within the higher education sector and international studies make him an excellent fit to lead ApplyBoard’s UK Advisory Board, helping to foster the company’s rapid growth and adoption in new markets.

Jo Johnson attended Cabinet as Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation. He is President’s Professorial Fellow at King’s College London, a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, a Fellow of Birkbeck College, University of London, and a Member of the Council of the Dyson Institute for Engineering and Technology.

Prior to his time in Cabinet, Mr. Johnson spent 13 years at the Financial Times, where he was Associate Editor and won a number of awards for his journalism.

Dedicated to making education more accessible, ApplyBoard is looking forward to working with its UK Advisory Board to support student success.

Fellow UK Advisory Board Members

Nick Hillman

A photo of Nick Hillman, member of ApplyBoard's UK Advisory Board. Nick Hillman has been the Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, the UK’s only think tank specializing in higher education, since 2014. He was previously Special Adviser to The Right Honourable David Willetts MP (now Lord Willetts), during his time as the Minister for Universities and Science.

Previously, he was a history teacher and also spent time working in the City of London. At the 2010 election, he was the runner-up in Cambridge.

Nick has written extensively for a range of think tanks and peer-reviewed academic journals, including the Oxford Review of Education, the Higher Education Review, and Contemporary British History. He also wrote the authoritative account of being a Special Adviser for the Institute of Government.

His recent publications for HEPI have included articles about perceptions of the UK’s Graduate Route Visa, as well as student views on free speech.


Mary Curnock Cook

A photo of Mary Curnock Cook, member of ApplyBoard's UK Advisory Board. Mary Curnock Cook is an independent education expert serving in a non-executive capacity on a number of Boards. From 2010–2017, Mary was Chief Executive of UCAS. Earlier in her career, she held executive and non-executive positions in the education, hospitality, food, and biotech sectors.

Mary Chairs the governing body of the Dyson Institute and the Access Project, which helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds progress to selective universities. She is a Council member at the Open University, a non-exec Director at the Student Loans Company, the London Interdisciplinary School, and Education Cubed. She is also a Trustee at the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and the multi-academy trust, United Learning. She currently holds the role of Network Chair of Emerge Education, the leading edtech investor in Europe.

Mary has an MSc from London Business School and was awarded an OBE in 2000 and a CBE in 2020 for services to further and higher education. She is an honorary Fellow of Birkbeck and Goldsmiths and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Gloucestershire.

“Getting involved with ApplyBoard ticks all the boxes for me,” explained Mary Curnock Cook upon joining the Board in 2020. “It’s fast-growing edtech innovation, it has students’ interests at its heart, and it helps them navigate the labyrinthine world of trans-national applications to university.”

Sir Steve Smith

A photo of Sir Steve Smith, member of ApplyBoard's UK Advisory Board. Professor Sir Steve Smith is the UK Government International Education Champion, a post he took up after retiring as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter in August 2020. He had held that position since October 2002.

Sir Steve holds a BSc, an MSc, and a PhD in International Relations from the University of Southampton. He served as President of the world academic body in his field (the International Studies Association) from 2003–2004. In 2009, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and in 2012 he was awarded the University of South Florida’s Global Leadership Award. He is the author/editor of 17 books and over 100 journal articles.

Sir Steve was Chair of the UCAS Board from 2013–2019 and President of Universities UK (UUK) from 2009–2011. He was a Board member of the Russell Group (2012–2020); Chair of UUK’s International Policy Network and Chair of UUK’s International Strategic Advisory Board (2015–2020); Member of the UUK Board (2006–2020); and Board member of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (2013–2020). He is currently a Fulbright Commissioner, a Trustee of the Education and Employers Task Force, a Non-Executive Director of Unite Students, Chair of the Liveable Exeter Place Board, and a Patron of Exeter College.

From June 2007 until May 2010, he led for higher education on the Prime Minister’s National Council of Excellence in Education, which provided advice to Government on strategy and measures to achieve world-class education performance for all children and young people. 

Sir Steve was knighted in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to higher education locally and nationally. In 2019, Sir Steve was made a Freeman of the City of Exeter for his extraordinary contribution to Exeter and the local community.


Visit our Leadership page for more information about ApplyBoard and our UK Advisory Board leadership.


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