The MAR Leadership Program is operated by a four-person team whose members are dedicated conservationists with an array of professional abilities. Our team is committed to tackling the environmental problems facing the Mesoamerican Reef System (MAR) and is building a network of local, regional and international contacts to nurture our program’s fellows and their projects.
Maria Eugenia Arreola is the Director of the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program for the Mexican Nature Conservation Fund (FMCN). She has more than 10 years of experience designing and coordinating capacity-building programs in environmental fields. Prior to joining FMCN, she worked 8 years in the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), of which 5 years were spent in UNEP’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (in Mexico City), and 3 years at UNEP’s Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. In UNEP, Maria Eugenia coordinated the development of integrated environmental assessments (GEO) in 8 countries and more than 25 cities in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and participated in the development of virtual training tools which allowed her to travel and get to know the LAC region as well as various countries in Africa. Maria Eugenia received her BS in International Relations from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and holds a master’s degree in Environmental Management Systems. She also studied diploma courses in different topics: Environmental Law; New Learning Technologies, and Climate Change. She has collaborated on several UNEP reports from the Global Environmental Perspective series.
Mariana Chávez is the Project Officer of the MAR Leadership Program. She studied Veterinary Medicine and Animal Husbandry in the Universidad de la Salle Bajío, working mainly in horse medicine. Upon finishing her degree, she held several internships in zoos in Mexico, natural reserves in the U.S., and NGOs. In 2011, she moved to Canterbury, England, to get her master’s degree in Conservation Biology at the University of Kent. Her thesis project was a gap analysis of protected areas in West Africa, looking at their resilience to climate change. Upon finishing her master’s degree, she worked in London for Botanic Garden Conservation International and returned to Mexico in late 2012. Her professional objective is to seek mechanisms that improve human and animal quality of life while protecting the environment. Her main hobby is gardening, and she likes to read, go to the movies, and spend time with her family and friends.
Claudia Taylor is the Creative Development Assistant of the MAR Leadership Program. She has a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Pittsburgh. She first came to Mexico on a Fulbright grant to work for the MAR Fund, and is thrilled to continue working for MAR conservation as part of the Leadership team. Claudia has experience working in a variety of fields, including research, translation, transcription, fundraising, grantwriting, teaching, NGO administration, and communication.
Claudia grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, USA. She has also lived in Brazil and Chile. She speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Carmen Castilla is the Administrative Assistant of the MAR Leadership Program. She was born in Mexico City, and when she was 6 years old her family moved to Monterrey, where she lived for 15 years. She studied International Relations in the ITESM, Monterrey Campus, for two years, and then moved to the Mexico City Campus to finish her degree. After graduating, she worked in the Secretariat of the Environment of the State of Puebla organizing events. She has also worked in private events-planning companies, including BCD Meetings & Incentives, an international company recognized for organization of corporate events. She has experience organizing events for companies like Avon, Dupont, Deloitte, Herbalife, and Kodak.
Carmen likes to meet new people and seek experiences that make her grow as a person. She also likes to watch TV series, meditate, spend time with her friends, and travel. In 2011, she traveled for three months throughout Asia and learned about many different cultures.