Estefania Pihen Gonzalez
Estefanía Pihen González graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a specialization in Marine Conservation from the University of Costa Rica. She extensively worked with leatherback sea turtles and coral reef conservation with several Costa Rican national parks and international research teams including The Leatherback Trust, EarthWatch and CIMAR-Center for Marine Research and Limnology. In 2009 she founded a private bilingual school for low-income families that reside in beach communities along the north Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The school provided a strong scholarship program and offered an affordable private educational option for local families. The school’s main goal was to empower students through education so they could continue their studies at a professional level and then return to their communities to have an active role over the development of their towns and the preservation of their local natural resources. During the school’s 8 years of operations as a non profit, more than 150 children received financial support and the school conducted many invaluable community outreach and conservation projects, including work with orphans and indigenous communities. The school currently operates accredited by the Costa Rica Board of Education and as a satellite school of an alternative accredited Washington based school. Currently Estefanía is completing her MBA in the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise program at CSU. Through her MBA studies she seeks to gain the necessary expertise and knowledge to develop an incubator agency in Costa Rica that provides free consulting to rural land owners that reside in areas of great ecological importance, and that seek to develop these under sustainable approaches. Additionally, Estefanía is a fellow at the Institute for the Built Environment at CSU, currently working on a framework for developing high performance green schools in the tropics in developing countries.