Program Coordinator (April 2021 – Present)
Arlo Cansino is a graduate from the University of Belize and holds a Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management. His decision to venture into tourism came from his love of country and his memories of family vacations in Belize. His love of country grew from travelling Belize to seeking change for Belize.
Arlo’s career started at the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) where he worked primarily with rural communities that were outside of the tourism belts. The Destination Development Department’s goal was to identify and develop programs to provide these communities access to the tourism industry. This included site development, trainings and exhibitions. It was there that he began seeing opportunities for the improvement in access to basic health services.
He became familiar with The Belize Vector and Ecology (BVEC) through Marla Cansino, who had been working alongside Donovan Leiva and lead by Sanjeev Mahabir. Here he was exposed to the realities of vector-borne diseases and the research being done in Belize. After leaving the BTB, he worked with Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), an NGO that manages the largest plot of protected areas in Belize. While in the field, he came across field staff who constantly suffered from Leishmaniasis, a vector-borne disease seen primarily affecting forest rangers and military personnel. He became even more fascinated with vector-borne diseases and the challenges in treatment. So, when the opportunity came to work for BVEC as Program Coordinator, he was very excited to be part of a great team whose goal is to understand and fight these vector-borne diseases. Arlo hopes that his experience in project management, community outreach and his natural curiosity for science will help BVEC further its influence in Belize for a safer and healthier community.
Marie (Cathy) Pott Cab
Research Assistant, Insectary/Laboratory Technician, Community Outreach Development (July 2017-Present). Marie Pott Cab lives in the village of San Joaquin in the Corozal District. Marie is the third child out of a family of five girls, now married and with a son has come to the realization that being a mother involves more than just being a care giver, but also be a role model to the pair of foot following her around.
Marie has worked as a primary school teacher for the past years where she discovered that there is so much that one person can do for the future generation of her country. At the age of 28 and with an associate’s degree in Biology she did not felt fully accomplished since she has always had a passion for the natural world. As a part time employee at BVEC she can see as a great platform where she can combine her passion, her goal and who she wants to be in life. She feels she has so much she can give to her community and wish to contribute to make a better Belize.
Alvaro lives and grew up at Orange Walk Town in the Orange Walk District of Belize. He has an older brother. He attended San Francisco Primary Roman Catholic School, graduated from San Francisco R.C. School in 2005 and later went to attend Bishop Martin High School still in Orange Walk Town. In 2009 he graduated from Bishop Martin High school and was determined to continue his education. Muffles Junior College was the next step in which he majored in Biology. In 2011 Alvaro obtained his Associates degree in Biology from Muffles Junior College.
After he graduated, he took some time off from school and worked in some part time jobs. In 2012 he was accepted to the University of Belize where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. He eventually graduated from the University of Belize in 2017. A few months after graduation he reached out to BVEC through Donovan, as he became interested in the undertakings that BVEC were conducting in partnership with the University of Belize. He became a volunteer at BVEC after graduation and was then hired in October 2017. He is committed to learn and assist Belize through vector borne disease research, so that he can help spread awareness of the dangers posed to the community.
JAILENE CASTILLO (/JĪˌLĒN/)
Born and raised in the beautifully growing village of San Estevan in Orange Walk District, Jailene has always been a dreamer and a doer. She sees her life as a ritual of learning and continues to break barriers and work diligently to make her own story. Jailene attended San Estevan Roman Catholic School, home to her football team and after graduating as valedictorian, she enrolled at Muffles College High School. Always on a mission to soothe her inquisitive mind, she decided to join the Academic Science Class as it opened a door to question freely, experiment, analyze and obtain answers. An essential part of her high school adventure was partaking in science fairs and during her senior year of high school, she was chosen to train at Ecology Project International in Black Bird Caye regarding the significance of conservation of a society that’s becoming more dependent on science. Encouraged by her mother and motivated by her only sister, Jailene then decided to pursue her Associates Degree in Biochemistry at St. John’s College Junior College after successfully completing secondary education on the honor roll. Her time in college allowed her to fall in love with understanding the fragility and resilience of life, become her own person and see the world in greater spectrums. Through her involvement with the Campus Ministry and Student Leadership Clubs, she earned a spot at the 2017 National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference where she advocated for immigrant students in a battle for the continuation of Educational Grants and scholarships in the US. Working at the Belize Vector and Ecology Center has been the highlight of Jailene’s life so far as her activities are filled with scientific adventures and discovery. During her leisure time, when she isn’t eating her weight in sweets, Jailene loves to dive into worlds of J.K Rowling and Sarah J Maas to get her fix of fantasy, mystery and adventure. Through life saving research, her determination and perseverance, Jailene hopes to become a revolutionary biomedical scientist in the future to better understand vector borne diseases and share her findings with a world in dire need of reliable answers.