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Board of Directors



Cindy Wilber is the Founder and Executive Director of Proyecto Itzaes and the Education Director of Centro de Educación Ambiental de la Península Yucateca (CEAPY) She retired from Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Stanford University in 2019 and is a member of the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS). Cindy is an educational specialist focused on curriculum development, community outreach programs, and access to knowledge for indigenous peoples and is a bilingual author.


Jessica Cetz Dzib, lives in Ixil, Yucatán and is the current lead assessor (advisor) for Proyecto Itzaes and has been an active part of Proyecto Itzaes since she was 11 years old. Jessica graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY) with a degree in Accounting and also has a MBA from UADY. Jessica contributes key elements on all levels to PI goals and programs and as a native Maya speaker promotes cultural preservation across all PI programs. Jessica is an active member of COPUS and has been responsible for disseminating Maya math/ numerology and has organized, with other assessors, all of PI’s science fairs.


Jorge Carlos Berny is a research scientist in breeding and genomics at World Coffee Research, with a B.Sc. in Agronomy from the Instituto Tecnológico de Conkal, Yucatán and a Ph.D. in Horticulture and Agronomy from the University of California at Davis. He lives in Yucatán, México and has been an integral part of the PI team on multiple levels for many years including participation with COPUS and the PI science fairs.



Karen Drachler is the Senior Donor Services Officer, Gifts Processing, for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. She is a graduate of John F. Kennedy University with an MBA in Strategic Management and holds a Certification in Financial Accounting from Foothill College. Karen also received a B.S. in Biology from George Washington University. After serving in Honduras as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Karen moved to San Francisco and began working with PI. Karen is a Registered Yoga Instructor (RYT-200), an avid traveler, and an amateur photographer.

Kate Lowry is the strategy director at the Science Philanthropy Alliance. Trained as an earth system scientist, Kate conducted oceanographic research in the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica for her Ph.D. and undergraduate education at Stanford University. She is a member of the National Leadership Council for the Society of Science, a trustee for the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and Arts Foundation, a mentor for the Peninsula College Fund, and on the Irene Brown Scholarship committee. Kate has extensive experience as a mentor for underrepresented students and is a long time supporter of PI in multiple capacities.



Kimberly Gibson is a PhD candidate in Horticulture and Agronomy at the University of California, Davis and will soon start a Post-doctoral Fellow in Entomology at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Her research is focused on crop diversity, domestication, and plant breeding for insect tolerance. Kimberly has been an investigator at Centro de Educación Ambiental de la Península Yucateca (CEAPY) since 2015 and her current project there is examining the ways in which deforestation affects insects and insectivorous migratory birds. She holds a B.A. with Honors in Urban Studies from Stanford University where she volunteered as a docent at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. She is a member of COPUS.


Lance Powell currently chairs the science department and teaches at Menlo-Atherton High School in the Bay Area. As a career science educator he has designed and taught various courses and worked with a wide variety of high school students over the years in different schools, including one he co-founded; June Jordan School for Equity. He is currently teaching AP Environmental Science and Chemistry to English Language Learners. He is a member of  COPUS and was also involved in the Proyecto Itzaes Science Fair a few years back. 


Laura Jones PhD Stanford ‘90 is Director of Heritage Services and University Archaeologist for Stanford University, responsible for stewardship of the University’s nearly 100 archaeological sites and 200 historic buildings. Her archaeological experience includes serving as director of a number of major excavations of prehistoric occupation and cemetery sites in the San Francisco Bay Area where she works closely with the indigenous Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. Laura has served on the Board of PI since its inception.


Marcy Barton has been a teacher and educational activist for more than five decades. Now retired, Marcy’s career spans classroom and administrative experience from pre-school to 8th grade, and in locations from New England, to the Deep South, and to the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been a writing specialist teacher, a TV math teacher, a technology integration specialist, a professional development designer and trainer, a Japan Memorial Fulbright participant, as well as a a highlighted speaker at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute for Design – the d.School. Classroom for the Conceptual Age: Chronicles of An Integrated Exploratory Teacher is her first full-length work of non-fiction.


Mattias Lanas grew up in Santiago, Chile and is a scientific illustrator and educator. As a member of COPUS, Mattias participated in the Proyecto Itzaes COPUS science fair and is a long time supporter of PI. Mattias graduated with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Earth Systems from Stanford, then completed the Science Illustration Certificate Graduate Program at Cal State University, Monterey Bay. He currently freelances and enjoys teaching illustration and nature journaling.


Tom McFadden teaches 8th grade biology at The Nueva School, has been making science music videos  for 12 years, including Soy Yucateco Tambien Maya that he made with Proyecto Itzaes. Tom also hosts "Science With Tom" on YouTube - developing videos, lessons, and tools that help every teacher unleash the creative genius of their rockstar students. In 2021, he launched Rhyme With, an EdTech tool that brings interactivity and student voice to standards-aligned music videos. Tom has been part of PI for years on multiple levels. Tom is a member of COPUS and has lived and worked with PI in Ixil, Yucatán.


Walt Hays is a retired civil trial lawyer (Stanford ‘61), mediator, sustainability advocate, Rotarian, and a hands-on supporter of PI for more than 20 years, including multiple trips to Yucatán to work side by side with Maya communities. Walt has been instrumental in shaping the progress of PI programs.

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