Who We Are
The MCEC, or Marine Conservation & Education Center, is a center for conservation and education situated in the middle of the biologically intense and incredible South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. ocean conservation organization
History & Mission
MCEC was founded by the creators of the ocean conservation organization INNOCEANA, an international marine conservation NGO, specializing in innovation for ocean protection. First registered in Spain in 2017, Innoceana is now a 501(c)(3) in California since 2020, and an NGO in Costa Rica since 2021. Our team of professional engineers, biologists and scuba divers have created the MCEC to act as a hub for our conservation, research, and education activities in Costa Rica. More than a center for Innoceana’s activities, the MCEC highly values collaboration. We collaborate with various local and international NGOs, Universities, Schools, Foundations and the local government. The MCEC hosts and supports all activities which focus on education and conservation of the environment.
Senior Management Team
Carlos Mallo Molina
Carlos is the founder and CEO of Innoceana. After winning a prize for innovation in construction in the UK, Carlos changed everything in his life to begin this voyage to save the Ocean. He is also a professional diver, conservation instructor, a charter marine engineer and environmentalist. Inside of the MCEC, Carlos is our Business and International Relations Director.
Laura left the cold lands of her country, Belgium, to find her home in the tropics between coral reefs, humpback whales and the jungle. Marine and molecular Biologist, Laura has also been trained as a yoga instructor in India and sailed the seas of the world for four years, diving incredible places and specializing as a Divemaster in conservation. Laura is also a vegan chef and has her own business of vegan cakes: “La Flabellina”. She is our Project and Conservation Director.
Yulian Cordero Sanchez
Dive instructor, founder of “Osa Natura” and wildlife photographer, Yulian has spent half of his life in the jungle surrounded by nature, the other half under the water in the South Pacific of Costa Rica. He has rescued numerous marine animals entangled in ghost fishing devices with his own hands and is a pioneer of Ecotourism in the area. Incredible naturalist, Yulian is our Operations Director.
Karyna is from California and has worked for 10 years in the world of geotechnical engineering as a business development manager. Nevertheless, her love for the ocean brought her to beautiful Costa Rica, and she joined the team with a clear idea: helping grow Innoceana and the MCEC for a greater impact. Karyna is our Development Director.
courtney & NICHOLAS ROWLEY
Courtney Rowley is one of the most successful trial lawyers in the United States. She worked hard to overcome the adversity women and mistreatment many women face in the legal profession and did so with hard work and determination. Sharing her experiences to help women and better the profession Courtney Co-authored Trial By Woman, widened the path for women and is helping redesign the way law is practiced.
Nicholas Rowley is also one of the most successful and well known Trial Lawyers in the United States. Nick’s tough childhood, personal experiences with poverty and homelessness, military service as a medic, and other life experiences have instilled a drive within him to help others.
Courtney and Nick are trial lawyers, and together are parents to 11 children (7 sons and 4 daughters). They are the authors and co authors of four books and are the founders of a unique training program for trial lawyers, Trial By Human. Importantly, they are both experienced divers who share a passion for conservation, education, and the protection of sharks. Courtney and Nick are the Key Patrons of the MCEC.
GABRIELA ELIZONDO ALPIZAR
Gabriela is our MCEC go-to attorney and is a licensed attorney and notary public. She has a Masters degree in notary and registry law from Universidad Latina. With nine years of experience practicing law, Gabriela is especially knowledgable in corporate, commercial, and immigration law. Her specialities and additional certification courses make her an indispensable asset within our organization.
noilyn torres vargas
Administration Lead and Receptionist
Noilyn is the beautiful face who will receive you in the MCEC. She grew up in the southern part of the country, in the canton of Coto Brus. She concluded her university studies at the Distance State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainable Tourism Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching. She has great experience in the tourist field and administrative aspects. Noilyn is also a mom of a nine-year-old daughter who already has a passion for the Ocean!
Education and Awareness Lead
Julia is a marine biologist, divemaster and cetacean lover. She is our Education and Awareness Lead! Incredible with kids, Julia has created the amazing project called Innotales: interactive audio-visual books to raise awareness amongst kids and families about the Ocean threats. Creative and bubbly, kids have eyes just for her when she talks about the Ocean and its mysterious inhabitants.
flavio güell casalvolone
Flavio studied Graphic Design and Marketing. He specializes in content creation. He has also participated in several Literature courses, feeding his passion for words. He has led several international branding processes, working with advertising agencies and independently. He is a published writer, his favorite genre is the short story. Flavio is idealistic and metaphorical, he loves reading, spending time in nature and trying new plant-based foods.
Geovanni Jiménez CorTEZ
Native of the town of Sierpe, Geovanni grew up between the channels of the Terreba Sierpe mangrove forest and the waters of the South Pacific of Costa Rica. He dedicated part of his life to the fishing industry and in 2009 he joined the MARVIVA organization where he worked in the coastal protection and conservation program aboard the FENIX vessel. In the last decade he dedicated himself to the tourism and ecotourism sector. Geovanni is our talented Boat Captain.
marcos mora mejia
Operations Assistant and Sailor
Marcos is the MacGyver of the MCEC! He is our Operations Assistant, sailor, and can basically fix anything in the center which needs fixing. He was born in Pérez Zeledón and grew up in Rio Claro. He is the youngest of 4 sisters and 1 brother. He likes soccer, swimming, and of course the Ocean. Marcos also has a great sense of humor and will always be happy to make the team laugh. Oh, Marcos is also a boat captain!
Katherine garro camacho
Cook and Custodial Lead
Katherine is our beloved cook and also makes sure the MCEC is always shining! She cooks the delicious meals we eat on the boat and during the expeditions. Katherine was born in Limón, but grew up and lives in Platanares de Pérez Zeledón. Her 5 year old son is her most precious treasure and her favorite hobbies are music, traveling, cooking and spending time in nature.