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SNS Staff Spotlight: Vanessa Ortega, Front Desk Specialist


Meet Vanessa Ortega, Front Desk Specialist of the Dean's Office Suite


Vanessa Ortega

As you walk into the School of Natural Sciences Dean’s suite in search of an administrator, a copy machine, or leftover snacks, it’s likely you’ve been greeted by the Front Desk Specialist, Vanessa Ortega. The face of the office, Vanessa manages the front desk of the Dean’s suite; every day, she greets visitors and works tirelessly to resolve the stream of questions and issues that staff, faculty, and our students bring to her for assistance.


Vanessa joined the School of Natural Sciences in 2014 after managing the office of a collection agency for nearly a decade. The customer service, organization, and sunny disposition she brought with her to the School of Natural Sciences has made the Dean’s Office a hub of information, assistance and—at times—some much-needed levity. Vanessa supervises the student assistants who work at the front desk, and serves as a mentor as well, training them in office procedures that will serve them in work environments of all kinds upon graduation. She remains in contact with many former student employees and loves seeing how their careers unfold.


Born and raised in Merced, Vanessa is a first-hand witness to the growth and change that have taken place since UC Merced first opened its doors to students. When asked what she loves most about her hometown, she would tell you that she is happy Merced has experienced so much growth without losing its small-town feel. She especially enjoys the variety of local recreational activities, such as fairs and parades, and other annual traditions that have taken place since her childhood. You can often find her with her children at the Merced zoo and parks, or exploring many of California’s natural gems that are within driving distance to Merced. When they are not attending family events and celebrations in town (both her and her husband come from large families), Vanessa and her family spend weekends visiting beaches and campsites throughout Northern California.


Next time you stop by the School of Natural Sciences Dean’s suite, be sure to say hello to Vanessa! She and the front desk team are here to help with any questions and needs you may have during your day-to-day teaching, research, and service.