Meet The Staff

Student Services

Phone: (831) 459-2858


Adrienne Bergenfeld

Adrienne Bergenfeld

Assistant Director, International Student Services

Specialization: F-1 & J-1 Students

Adrienne is from Colorado but now calls Santa Cruz home. She has been in the field of International Education since 2009 and has worked in a variety of schools across the nation in both International Admissions and International Student Services. She earned a master’s degree in International Education from SIT (School for International Training) and has lived abroad for a short time in both Austria and Greece and studied abroad in Japan. When not supporting students at UCSC, Adrienne enjoys cooking, gardening, and discovering great food. She loves receiving restaurant suggestions from students, so if you have one, let her know!


Catherine Murphy

International Student Advisor

Catherine was born and raised in Uruguay, and moved to the U.S. with her family in her late teens. She completed a bachelor's degree in International Relations at San Francisco State University, and a California teaching credential with San Diego City Schools. Her 27 years of teaching experience include elementary school, adult ESL, and Spanish language at a Montessori adolescent program. She established and oversaw a student exchange program at Santa Cruz Montessori School. Catherine has also worked in the area of immigration law and she holds a Paralegal Studies certificate. She joined the ISSS team in 2022 as an International Student and Scholar Advisor. Some of Catherine’s interests are traveling, reading, going for long walks, and watching the night sky.


Tomer Zamir

International Student Advisor

Tomer was born and raised in Israel. He first came to the U.S. in 2015 as an F-1 international student. Tomer then worked as a Military Language Instructor at the DLI (Defense Language Institute). Since February of 2022, Tomer has been working at UC Santa Cruz as an International Student and Scholar Advisor. He likes to learn about new cultures and their history, work out, and spend time with family and friends.


Vanessa Orey

International Student Engagement Advisor

Specialization: F-1/J-1 Students (Global Exchange and UCEAP)

Vanessa joined the ISSS team in 2018 and has been involved in the world of international studies for over a decade. After a year-long homestay program in Belgium, she became hooked on traveling. Vanessa maintained her curiosity for different cultures by completing her bachelor's degree in International Relations at UC Davis, teaching English in South Korea for one year, participating in a Spanish immersion program in Ecuador, and backpacking in more than 20 countries worldwide. She previously worked for the Cabrillo College Transfer and Career Center and received a master's degree in Education and Counseling from San Jose State University. In Vanessa's free time, she enjoys being outdoors, dancing, hiking, sailing, and loves to call Santa Cruz home with an international twist! 

Scholar Services

Phone: (831) 459-2858



Elena Gruzdeva

International Scholar Advisor

Specialization: J-1 and H-1B Scholars

Elena was born and raised in Russia. She first came to the U.S. in 1993 as a J-1 exchange student and then in 1995 as an F-1 international student. Elena started her career in the field of international education at the end of 2003. She has worked at several universities, advising both international students and scholars. Since the end of 2021, Elena has been working at UC Santa Cruz as an International Scholar Advisor. She loves to travel, learn about new cultures, read, cook, do yoga, and dance the Argentine tango.


Gabriele Schmiegel

Assistant Director, Sponsored Student Programs


Specialization: Sponsored Students and J-1 Scholars and Student Interns

Gabi was born and raised in Germany. She originally planned to become an Egyptologist but switched her studies to Political Science and American Government instead. She came to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities as an exchange student in 1994 and stayed to complete her master’s degree. Gabi has traveled extensively to the Middle East and North Africa. She has been working in international education for 25 years and her passion to help international students get the support they need to succeed drove her to create and lead the sponsored student program at UMN for the last 10 years. She loves to travel, experience new cultures and cuisine, read, watch Netflix, cook, bake, and eat good food with friends. She has a cat but loves fluffy dogs as well.