"My time with Halcyon was the first time that I was able to fit in with a community and it was a game changer. It allowed me to develop and grow without any fear of being judged or being afraid to share the problems I was encountering. Halcyon changed my life.”
Tamara Chayo is a Halcyon Residential Incubator Cohort 16 fellow the founder and CEO of MEDU Protection, an award winning Mexico-based startup serving as a pioneer in green medicine by producing sustainable medical apparel.
Read Tamara’s story below.
“My story begins in Mexico City, where I was born and raised. My parents got divorced when I was six years old so I didn’t grow up with my family together. Because of this, I would move around in different states within Mexico. In that chaos, I was able to find my love of chemistry. When I was eight years old I found a book on Marie Curie and her work and discovered that you can accomplish anything you want through chemistry. Very quickly I realized that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. My love for chemistry grew deeper thanks to one of my mentors who was a great chemical engineer here in Mexico City. He had many discoveries through his work, predominantly on cancer research. When I was 12, he involved me in his lab so I was able to enter into the world of chemistry really early. It was the beginning of something great. Young people are changing the world in new ways, no matter what their age is. When my mentor passed away, I decided I would follow in his footsteps as a chemical engineer with a focus on helping others.
During high school, I decided that I would continue studying in Mexico instead of the other colleges I had scholarships for because I ultimately wanted to have an impact within my community. Most of the time in Mexico, the people that go to colleges outside of Mexico never come back. I ended up studying Chemical Engineering in Mexico City but in my second year, COVID-19 arrived. That’s what led me to begin MEDU Protection. I grew up with many aunts and uncles who were doctors and nurses in the field, which helped me see a problem that the medical industry has. It’s not sustainable. I wanted to do something different.
I wanted to do something that was sustainable, not just in an economic way, but in an eco-friendly way. That’s how MEDU was born. We produce reusable PPE (personal protective equipment). I developed a fabric that can encapsulate bacteria and viruses for PPE that can be washed up to 50 times without losing its protective properties. We want to expand world-wide and make the medical industry greener. We’re looking at saving over a billion tons of waste over the next five years.
It’s incredible how Halcyon fits in my story. Now I have a community and I’m a part of something bigger. I never fit in at my school. I never fit in with my family. I was always the weird one. My time with Halcyon was the first time that I was able to fit in with a community and it was a game changer. It allowed me to develop and grow without any fear of being judged or being afraid to share the problems I was encountering. Halcyon changed my life.”
The Voices of Halcyon
The Voices of Halcyon series is part of Halcyon’s end-of-year campaign in which we fundraise to support entrepreneurs like Tamara Chayo. With your support, Halcyon can reach its goal of $25,000 to continue providing a stipend, free housing, leadership coaches, consultants, legal support, and more to entrepreneurs driving communities into a brighter, more equitable future. Please support Halcyon by clicking the link below.