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Meet Our Team

UpTica / About UpTica / Meet Our Team

Founder’s Story

The idea for Transforma originated during a Resolution social venture competition hosted by Semester at Sea (SAS). The three co-founders (Nicol Chinchilla, Sasha Drumm (Burnett), and Maria Castillo) participated in the spring 2015 SAS voyage. SAS is a study abroad program that offers students the opportunity to live and travel together for four months around the world, by cruise ship. Nicol is originally from La Ribera, Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica. Nicol identified a social problem that prevents the communities of her region from achieving harmonious development, gender inequality. Sasha is an environmental engineering student with a passion for international development. Maria is an environmental science and studies major who is passionate about sustainable living and climate change mitigation. Together the team created an innovative approach that does not only promotes women empowerment, but that also addresses the out-of-control waste disposal problem that harms our environment.

Our Amazing Team

We are proud and honored to be able to work with a community of like-minded individuals that help further UpTica's mission

Deiner Fallas

Danier’s brother. He is 29 and is married and has a 2 year-old daughter. He is the co-president/co-ordinator of the San Luis Youth Group. He is very active in the community. Rita delegated him her work with wood. He does work with wood and owns some tools, knows how to use them and can teach others.

Jose Chinchilla

Jose lives in La Ribera; very involved with La Ribera’s community groups and has experienced working with other groups in the four targeted communities. He is helping figuring out trainings and is very interested in helping.

Kelci Pauck

Lives next to Finca Chinchilla. She has been going to San Luis (Rita’s) with Nicol. She is 27, originally from Oregon, and has been in CR for 7 years now. She is very artistic, especially with painting. Fully fluent in Spanish in all areas. Has access to vehicles.

Jairo Chinchilla

Medical student, lives in San Jose downtown. He is 26. He will help us with translations and great person to network in the capital.

Anthony Fallas

Danier’s cousin from San Luis. He is 18 and is an accounting student in the Universidad de Costa Rica. Young person and connection to UCR. involved in the youth group.

Anna Ostermeier

- Communications and marketing intern<br /> Anna joined UpTica as part of the WIF team in 2017. She studied Geography and Environmental Studies with a certificate in Digital Studies at UW-Madison. She interned at the Office of Sustainability for a few semesters, and has lots of experience with waste and recycling topics, creating and delivering presentations, and great cartography, mapping and infographics skills.

Brooke Nelson

Partnership development and outreach intern<br /> Brooke joined UpTica as part of the WIF team in 2017. She studied Biology with certificates in Global Health and Environmental Studies at UW-Madison. She internet at E-Conserve, at the Housing Sustainability division and at UW-Health. She has experience on campus large-scale recycling, delivering presentations and presenting posters at symposiums, and is interested in environmental and social determinants of health.<br />

Kyle Powers

Kyle joined UpTica as part of the WIF and WESC teams in 2017. He is studying Geosciences and Geological Engineering (‘18) at UW-Madison. He has interned at the Office of Sustainability as well as at the Energy Institute. In both places, he has developed infographics, posters, and communications materials. He also has great photography skills and has experience in waste and recycling issues.

Thomas Bihler

Thomas joined for the WESC competition. He studied Mechanical Engineering and has extensive experience with automation. Him and Max played around with a previously built plastic shredder at the School of Engineering and came up with ideas on how to improve the creation of a new material. Through his internships and job, he has made connections that will help UpTica when ready to introduce the machines to the communities. Additionally, he helps with various tasks when needed, such as reviewing documents and brainstorming strategies for communications.

Max Kahn

Max joined for the WESC competition. He studied Mechanical Engineering and has experience in biomechanical engineering and processes. Him and Thomas played around with a previously built plastic shredder at the School of Engineering and came up with designs and improvements for it. Max’s dad, Mike Kahn, manages a plastic recycling company in Wisconsin. Max and Mr. Kahn have helped brainstorm ideas for recycling plastic in rural Costa Rica and increase the revenue of shredder plastics.

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