College of Science

Renee Estephan

Award-winning Biology Major Merges a Biotechnology Business Idea into a Solution

Renee Estephan With the drought in California reaching unpreceded levels of dryness, the state is looking for alternative ways to conserve what's left of its water supply. Cal Poly Pomona Biology major Renee Estephan along with her I-Corps team came up with an innovative answer to help solve California’s drought, the PolyPotable.

The team, comprised of team leader Renee, Valentina Truong, April Aquino and Matthew Cui, invented a residential-friendly grey and rain water recycling system that can save homeowner's money while salvaging their lawns. The key component of this invention is the reusing of California’s precious water that typically goes down the drain. 

The concept has taken off and industry experts and cities are paying attention. The I-Corps team have presented their concept in front of nine city councils and met with various municipal commissions.

The idea was born out of Renee’s award. She was the recipient of the CSUPERB/CSU (I-Corps) Innovation Corps Microgrant Award. This pioneering program allows CSU students and faculty researchers with a biological background or idea to get out of their labs and introduce their idea to potential partners, life science industry advisors and mentors.

“From developing business model canvases, to developing 10 minute pitches for potential investors, this program was definitely a crash course in entrepreneurship,” comments Renee. “I learned how to think like an entrepreneur and how to merge biotechnology and business,” said Renee.

Renee Estephan “As she has developed her skills and confidence over the last 2 1/2 years, I was able to watch her transform into a competent, well-informed researcher and team leader,” says Jill Adler-Moore, Program Director for the NIH MBRS RISE Program.  “It has been a delight to be a small part of her development and I look forward to following her as she progresses in her educational and career paths.”

Currently Renee is prepping for the GRE and will be applying to various biology related Ph.D. programs within Southern California and in Washington. If accepted, she would like to start graduate school in fall 2016 and would like to focus in the fields of neuroscience or cancer biology.

Check out her project website for pictures and more details on the interviews that were conducted:

The I-Corps team
The I-Corps team, comprised of team leader Renee Estephan, Valentina Truong, April Aquino and Matthew Cui.