About Us

Mission & Staff

USF Education Abroad Mission Statement

The Education Abroad Office promotes global competency by supporting and creating high-impact, innovative, and accessible international experiences for students.

Tampa campus

Amanda Maurer, Director of Education Abroad
Ms. Maurer came to USF in 2008 from the Columbia University School of Law, where she held the position of Senior Director of International Programs for thirteen years. She also worked with an NGO that developed conferences and programs in the USSR and PRC. She holds both a Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Russian language and literature from FSU. Her study abroad experiences were in former Yugoslavia and the USSR.

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Phone: (813) 974-4126

 Jim Pulos, Associate Director of Education Abroad
Mr. Pulos is the primary contact for Education Abroad student advising or issues with various university offices (Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid, etc.). He coordinates student course registration, course approval, grades, and all payments of program fees. He also serves as the liaison between students and Education Abroad faculty directors and between non-USF students and their universities' respective offices. He is also responsible for the Italian and Greek semester programs, internships in Dublin, and selected summer Education Abroad programs.

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Phone: (813) 974-4043

Rene Sanchez, Assistant Director of Education Abroad
Mr. Sanchez joined the Education Abroad Office in the fall of 2001. He is a USF graduate, with a Bachelor of the Arts in Psychology and a minor in International Studies. He completed his Master of Education with a focus on Instructional Technology and Curriculum Design. His passion for international education led him to complete study abroad programs in Greece, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, Peru, and the United Kingdom; later leading programs to the United Kingdom and France. He currently serves the office as the Assistant Director for Operations where he acts as the primary contact for faculty development, contracting, virtual global exchange, and oversees the program development and exchanges team.

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Phone: (813) 974-3104

Nancy Di Bella, Education Abroad Program Manager
Ms. Di Bella is a Program Manager for USF programs in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Iberian Peninsula. She also oversees student travel through affiliate programing with the GREEN Program, and CISAbroad. Born and raised in Venezuela, she grew up bicultural and bilingual completing a Bachelor’s degree in Venezuela and a Master’s at USF. Since 2005 she led many Education Abroad programs to Costa Rica and Ecuador as faculty before joining the Education Abroad Office in 2014. She has seen students’ experiences abroad from many angles yet she never ceases to be amazed by its transformative power.

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Phone: (813) 974-1969

Elena Efremova, Education Abroad Program Manager
Elena Efremova is a Program Manager overseeing faculty-led programs in non-Mediterranean Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa. Elena also works with students going on affiliate programs through SIT and Barcelona SAE.

Born and raised in Russia, she completed her undergraduate exchange program at Dickinson College, Pennsylvania and received a Master’s degree in International Economics back in her home town of Vladivostok, Russia. Since 2004, Elena managed cultural exchanges and partnership projects between Russia and the United States at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow before moving to Tampa and joining the Education Abroad Office in 2018.

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Phone: (813) 974-6789

Lauren Strange, Student Programs Coordinator
Lauren Strange serves as the advisor to incoming exchange students, students attending non – affiliate programs, and oversees the Peace Corps Prep certificate program. An alumnae of USF, Lauren participated in an exchange with Oxford Brookes University  as an undergraduate student  and then went on to serve as  a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kyrgyz Republic. 

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Phone: (813) 974-6148

Shari Gray, Fiscal Business Manager
Shari is a proud USF alumnus with a BA in Finance and a BS in Accounting. She came to work for USF with over 25 years of accounting management in private industry. Her primary responsibility is the fiscal management of our Education Abroad programs.

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Em Maxwell, Fiscal Business Specialist

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C. J. Edwards, Enrollment Management Specialist

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Trang Ly, Enrollment Specialist

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Gary Bellamy, Web and Database Coordinator

Mr. Bellamy has over 20 years experience in Data Analysis, Telecommunications and IT in the private sector. A U.S. Patent holder and experience with ITIL and Lean/Six Sigma methodologies. Gary is the Web, Database and Reporting Coordinator supporting the Education Abroad Office.

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Phone: (813) 974-3933

St.Petersburg campus

Wendy Baker, Campus Director
Wendy Baker is responsible for leading global engagement for USF World at the St. Petersburg campus. She is serves on the Education Abroad leadership team, oversees the Education Abroad Advisory Council, and co-leads the Virtual Global Exchange (VGE) initative with Mr. Sanchez. 

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Phone: 727-873-4851

Joseph Kenny, Program Manager
Mr. Kenny is responsible for promoting and marketing education abroad programming across USF, the registration of student-related travel, and providing supporting services for outgoing and incoming exchange students at the St. Petersburg campus.

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Phone: 727-873-4270

Sarasota-Manatee campus

Phal Patel, Fiscal & Business Analyst (USF World)
Phal is a Fiscal & Business Analyst for USF Education Abroad programs. Born and raised in India, she is bilingual and graduated with a Bachelors and Masters in Clinical Psychology from India and MBA in Management from Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut. 

Though she never had an opportunity to participate in a study abroad experience, she has a passion for traveling and has traveled extensively within the United States and internationally. She believes that traveling enhances one’s outlook and appreciation of different cultures. 

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Phone: 941-359-4266