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 Programming where he acts as the primary contact for faculty development, contracting, and oversees the program development team as well as the outbound student exchanges..

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Phone: (813) 974-3104


Chris Haynes, Education Abroad Advisor
Mr. Haynes joined the Education Abroad office in 2014 after working as an Advisor for the Institute for Study Abroad-Butler University (IFSA). While at IFSA he oversaw programs in England, Australia and New Zealand. He completed his MA here at USF in Global Sustainability and concentrated in Sustainable Tourism. At USF Chris oversees the Education Abroad Gateway Office located in center campus. Chris and his dedicated team are here to help students find a study abroad program that compliments their academic degree and helps students navigate the application and pre-departure process.  The Gateway Office is also “home base” for our GloBull Ambassador program which helps both recruit the next wave of study abroad participants and also helps returned students readjust to life back in the states.

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Phone: (813) 974-5474


Katie Pazda, Curriculum Integration Administrator
Ms. Pazda joined the Education Abroad office in 2017 after working with first year seminar programs in USF Undergraduate Studies and as a study abroad advisor at the University of Tampa. She completed her MA in International Affairs, specializing in International Education and studied abroad herself in Japan, Senegal, and Israel. Katie first served as a Program Manager and now presently works with the Academic Services team on curriculum integration and supporting USF’s School of Record relationships. 

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Phone: (813) 974-9024


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 AIFS, CIEE, and TEAN affiliate programs. She comes to USF from the University of Florida where she spent four and half years as a study abroad advisor. Lauren also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kyrgyz Republic and has a master’s degree in Intercultural Relations.

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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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Laura Ferraz, Fiscal & Business Specialist
Laura graduated from USF with a Bachelor of Science in General Business Administration and is currently an MBA student at USF. She has worked in USF’s Travel Department before coming to Education Abroad.  Born in Argentina, raised in Uruguay, and she is a proud US citizen since 2015. Laura does all the fiscal process behind each education abroad program.

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Corella Edwards, Enrollment Management Specialist
Corella is a proud graduate of The University of South Florida, earning both her Bachelor’s and Master’s from USF. Corella has a background in Child Welfare Dependency Case Management, Teaching, and Registration & Enrollment for a Drop Out Prevention Program for young adults obtaining credits towards the completion of their High School Diploma.

As the Enrollment Management Specialist, Corella processes and maintains all student and course registrations for Education Abroad programs, as well as supports the School of Record relationships.

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Phone: (813) 974-1205


Trang Ly, Enrollment Specialist

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Preston Drane, International Risk and Security Coordinator
Mr. Drane is a proud USF alumnus and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies. During his time an undergrad, he participated in the London and Paris study abroad program. Since his first experience traveling abroad, Preston has traveled to various countries in the Caribbean, Europe and South America. Prior to joining the Education Abroad office in 2013, he interned for a former U.S. Department of State Regional Security Officer.

Mr. Drane participates in first responder 24/7 coverage for all incidents abroad, monitors global events for all USF travelers and oversees the enrollment of the international health and evacuation insurance for all USF travelers.

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Phone: (813) 974-0402


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 and Database Coordinator supporting the Terra Dotta Study Abroad application for the Education Abroad Office..

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Phone: (813) 974-3933

St.Petersburg campus

Wendy Baker, Campus Director
Ms. Baker is responsible for USF World operations on the St. Petersburg campus including the promotion of education abroad and exchange programs, support for international students and scholars, and programming that advances the internationalization of the university.

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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

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Phone: 941-359-4266