Department of Economics

Iris (Ponsano) Maska

  • Graduated: 2004
  • Field: Analyst/Consultant, Government

Iris (Ponsano) Maska, who graduated with honors in 2004, completed her BA in economics with a minor in math.  She is resource economics and environmental planner for the Bureau of Reclamation in Eureka, California.  While at Chico State she served as president of the Economics Club.

She left Chico State for Sacramento State to enter their graduate economics program. After completing her course work for an MA in economics she worked as an intern for Tetra Tech, a consulting firm that provides engineering and technical services. From there she moved to the US Army Corps of Engineers where she served as regional economist. She also found time to serve 2 years as a volunteer editor for the Progressive Congress.

Iris left the Corps in 2012 as senior economist to join the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Arlington, Virginia, where she worked as an economist at their headquarters until 2016 when she took a position with  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Sacramento, California. 

Iris also works with National Environmental Policy Analysis (NEPA) documents to evaluate their economic impacts. She is also looking for opportunities to provide skills-based volunteering.

"Being a federal government economist is not only a steady job but a very rewarding and challenging career. Coupling it with a math minor had been immense help in the last decade. My job title has always been as an economist. I'd say do what you are good at. I was always bad at the business side but loved the math, graphs, and proofs. I leveraged those skills into doing risk modeling for systems. Economists are needed in interdisciplinary natural resource teams" Iris stated in a recent email.  (Last Updated 1/20/20)

Portrait of Iris (Ponsano) Maska