Chico Economics Graduate Careers - Environment

Fletcher AlexanderFletcher Alexander

Fletcher Alexander graduated from California State University, Chico in 2010 with a degree in Economics with an option in Environmental Economics and thematic studies in Environmental Issues. He is currently the Campus Sustainability Coordinator at CSU, Chico. He works collaboratively across campus on the development and implementation of sustainability initiatives in support of the campus’ long-term sustainability goals and on further developing the campus’ culture of sustainability. Before returning to the University in Fall 2011 he worked for a year and a half as an Analyst & Planner with the City of Chico on the development of a community-wide 2020 Climate Action Plan.

“My education in economics has been an invaluable tool in the sustainability planning and environmental accounting work I’ve done with the City of Chico and CSU, Chico. In particular, the ability to perform long-range cost-benefit analysis of environmental initiatives is a skill I’ve used time and again on feasibility and prioritization analyses.”

Robert DelpRobert Delp

Robert Delp, who received his BA in Economics with an emphasis on energy and environmental issues in 1992, is a self-employed environmental consultant working in the Sacramento area. He also serves as project manager for Benchmark Resources . “ Mr. Delp has nearly 20 years of experience conducting resources analyses, preparing environmental documents, and managing environmental planning and review processes. He prepares environmental documents for compliance with CEQA and NEPA for transportation, water resources, energy infrastructure, and industrial projects. Mr. Delp also manages and conducts transportation, land use, and recreation planning associated with environmental review. His focus at Benchmark is environmental analysis for new and expanded quarries. He has contributed to and managed some of the largest and most controversial mine proposals proposed in the Central Valley.” In 2010 Robert earned his certificate in land use and environmental planning at the University of California, Davis. Source:

Keith S. EvansKeith S. Evans

Keith S. Evans received his B.A. in Economics with Honors in 2002 from Chico State where he competed on the Speech and Debate team. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Iowa State University in 2011. Keith was awarded a pre-doctoral research fellowship in Environmental and Resource Economics from the Center for Environmental Economics and Sustainability Policy at Arizona State University. Here, he researched the impact of remediation of Superfund sites in Maricopa County, AZ on the housing location decisions of households. After completing his doctorate in 2011, he joined the economics faculty at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. Since July of 2014, he has been an assistant professor in the School of Economics and School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine in Orono.  

At Chico State, Keith had the opportunity to work with Professor David E. Gallo in research regarding population targets and recreational salmon fishing. In a recent email Keith stated that "My time at Chico State was important to my success in graduate school. The course work trained me to think conceptually about economic problems, rather than attempt memorization or brute force methods. This allowed me to address new research questions using the ideas introduced in other situations. The economics faculty are the department's greatest asset. During my time as a student they inspired me to enter academia and both prepared and encouraged me to attend graduate school."

Danae HallDanae Hall

Danae Hall graduated from Chico State in May 2013 with a BA in Environmental Economics and a minor in Spanish. She began her career as an intern for Circlepoint, a consulting firm in Oakland. After completing her internship, Circlepoint asked her to remain with the firm as assistant environmental planner.  Danae was recently promoted to associate environmental planner at the environmental firm. Danae writes applications for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that analyze the potential environmental impacts of proposed projects. She also works on land use development, transportation, and transit projects including such exciting projects as the BART Silicon Valley Extension and California High Speed Rail (CHSR) Palmdale to Burbank Section. Danae is pursuing an MS in Environmental Management at University of San Francisco.

“In a recent email Danae stated that, “I use the critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills learned from my degree on a daily basis. Additionally, many of the courses I took in the program directly fostered interest and knowledge of my current industry. During my time at Chico, I found myself very interested in Developmental and Resource Economics, and I am excited to be a part of an industry that aims to ensure future development happens in the most sustainable manner possible. The Community Planning course introduced me to the principles and regulatory setting of planning that I draw from every day. Possibly most related to my current work, in Dr. Gallo’s Energy Economics course I performed an analysis of the energy efficiency of the CHSR. This exercise trained me to identify reasonable assumptions, draw appropriate information from previous reports, and write critically; it also exposed me to the general CHSR project which I am now a part of. My time at Chico was invaluable in preparing me for a career in Environmental Planning, and inspired me to continue my education by pursuing an MS in Environmental Management.”

Travis HyltonTravis Hylton

Travis Hylton completed his Economics coursework at CSU Chico in 1997 after having received a BS in Civil Engineering with emphasis in Water Resources Engineering from UC Irvine in 1992.  Travis is Associate Director of the USGS Pacific Islands Water Science Center, managing scientists and hydrologic technicians conducting water resource investigations across the Pacific.

Travis worked for the Tulare County Public Works Department while earning registration as a Professional Engineer from the State of California. After leaving Chico he worked independently in what were recently reunified areas of the former East Germany.  His work there included a term with the Thuringian Dams and Reservoirs Administration, conducting a large scale bioremediation project for a private consulting firm, and completing research for the German Federal Uranium Mining Remediation Consortium related to the environmental contamination potential of groundwater flooding of abandoned uranium mines.

Returning stateside in 2000, he spent eight years in a leadership role in the Civil, Environmental, and Coastal Engineering division of the consulting and research and development firm Oceanit in Honolulu, Hawaii.  In 2008, Mr. Hylton joined the federal service at Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. His initial assignments centered on7 development of the $1.3B "One-Guam" drinking water and wastewater solutions to bring Guam's water resources infrastructure up to date to support construction of a new US Marine Corps base on the island. 

In 2015 Travis completed a three year tour as the drinking water program manager for NAVFAC Europe-Africa-Southwest Asia, ensuring Navy Fleets and families had reliable and safe drinking water from 25 systems across eight countries on three continents. From the middle of 2015 until the end of 2016 he served as an Enterprise Action Officer in the NAVFAC Pacific's Operations Department, overseeing facilities sustainment and modernization programs across the Pacific with an annual budget of $250M.

Travis holds several water resources engineering professional certifications, and is a founding Diplomate of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers.

"Engineering has been the foundation of my career, but being able to apply economics to the equation has proven critical time after time.” Mr. Hylton stated in a recent email.  “You've got to be able to do your market analysis and articulate the value proposition to the client, whether that be return on investment or comparing net present values of alternative solutions, or else the project will never get the green light.  Society needs sustainable solutions, and those solutions won't be socially viable unless they can be shown to be environmentally and economically sustainable." (Last Updated 12/20/18)

Matthew JafariMatthew Jafari

Matthew Jafari, who graduated in 2013 with a BA in Economics, is manager at Specialized Fibers, a recycling facility in Corning, California. Before enrolling at Chico State Matthew completed his AA degree in Natural Science in 2011 at Shasta College. 

In the summer between Shasta College and Chico State Matthew interned at HealthRIM, a computer software firm that manages patient data. Matthew states on his LinkedIn page the “I actively participated in research and marketing strategy sessions and proposed new ideas for inclusion in the overall HealthRIM product marketing strategy.

During his junior and senior year at Chico State Matthew was on the Dean’s List. After graduation Matthew began working for Specialized Fibers.

“Economics set the basic foundation of what I do on a daily basis” Matthew stated in a recent email. “Running operations at one of northern California's largest recycling processors I learned how to best utilize my limited resources finding balance between capital and labor. Economics fine-tuned my understanding about how markets operate to create arbitrage opportunities between domestic and international pricing.” 

Portrait of Mike McGinnisMike McGinnis

Mike McGinnis, who graduated with a BA in Economics in 1975, was executive director of ARC of Butte county from 1994 until 2017 when he retired and opened 15th Street Café with his son.  After he graduated he cofounded Butte Environmental Council.  Michael earned his MPA from Chico State in 1975.  He was mayor of Chico from 1994 until 1996.

Christina Morker-BrownChristina Morkner-Brown

Christina Morkner-Brown, who graduated cum laude and recipient of the Smale scholarship in 1989 with a BA in Economics and a Minor in Philosophy, is senior attorney at the California Air Resources Board in Sacramento, California.  She advises staff, defends the agency in litigation, and enforces their regulations. 

In 2004 Christina entered the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific.  While a student at McGeorge Christina was president of the Environmental Law Society and treasurer of the American Constitutional Society. She was on the Dean’s Honor List for her last 3 years and she received the Witkin’s Award for the highest grade in environmental law.   Christina was a legal intern for Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk, the Sierra club, and the California Department of Justice.  She was a judicial extern for the California Court of Appeals

Christina graduated in 2008 in the top 2% from McGeorge with Distinction and the Order of the Coif, and she joined Keyon Yeates LLP as litigation associate.  After 2 years with Yeates, she joined the California Air Resources Board as staff attorney.  At the end of 2014 she was promoted to assistant chief counsel.

When asked about the value of her econ degree, Christian stated in a recent email, “I think it was a rigorous program that challenged me to develop my analytical and problem solving skills, which are essential to being a successful attorney.  A background in economics has also helped me understand our agency's market based programs better (ie. cap and trade for GHG emissions). Also, what I learned for econometric modeling has helped me better understand modeling my agency does for air quality e.g. forecasting emissions based on existing data.”  (Last Updated 12/20/16)

Tony OliverTony Oliver

Tony Oliver, who graduated in 2006 with a BA in Economics and the Departments Service Award, is an economist at the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Diamond Bar, California.  While at Chico State he helped support himself by working for Kragen Auto Parts as assistant manager during his junior and senior years.  He was also a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon Economics Honor Society.

After graduation Tony enrolled at Purdue University where he worked as a graduate research assistant for 2 years.  Tony finished his MS in Agricultural Economics in 2008, and moved to the University of Nevada Reno where he was a graduate research and teaching assistant for the next 2 years. 

Tony moved from Nevada to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2010 and spent the next 5 years researching the impacts of renewable energy policies and he developed a model to evaluate the effect of U.S. energy policies on prices, emissions, and social welfare.  He completed his Ph.D in Agricultural and Applied Economics at UIUC in 2015.

Tony has been in his present job as economist for South Coast Air Quality Management District since the beginning of 2016.

"Environmental economics has been the focus of my career since my interest was first sparked in the subject by courses I took at Chico State.” Tony said in a recent LinkedIn message.  “In particular I would like to thank, Professors Pete Tsournos and David Gallo for introducing me to the subject and encouraging me to further pursue my studies. My education at Chico State well prepared me for graduate school, which led to my current job as an air quality economist, where on a daily basis I apply the analytical and quantitative methods I first started learning there.”

Kayleigh RustKayleigh Rust

Kayleigh Rust, who graduated in 2008 with a BA in Economics, is an environmental scientist at SWCA Environmental Consultants in Denver, Colorado. The summer after her graduation Kayleigh worked as an energy resources intern with the Texas General Land Office in Austin Texas.  Her “work included updating oil and gas/mineral lease agreements on State owned lands; mining research; and basic oil and gas accounting,” according to her LinkedIn page.  At the end of the summer, the Land Office promoted Kayleigh from intern to natural resources specialist and project manager. After almost two years with the Land Office Kayleigh moved on to Atkins, a design, engineering, and project management consultant, in Austin, Texas as an environmental planner.  In 2014 she accepted a position as environmental scientist with SWCA where she is currently working.  (Last Updated 4/30/18) 

Dave SteindorfDave Steindorf

Dave Steindorf graduated with a BA in economics in 1985. He is stewardship director American Whitewater. He has been an active river advocate in California since 1997. As the primary negotiator for American Whitewater, Dave has gained a reputation as a consensus builder. He has been able to gain the respect of Agencies, NGO's, and Licensees while successfully achieving the goals of his constituents. He was a signatory to the Rock Creek Cresta Settlement agreement, along with past AW Board President Kevin Lewis, and AW Conservation Director John Gangemi. This agreement provide for the first whitewater releases in California. He has since worked diligently to organize and sustain the releases on the North Fork Feather River.

Dave has a diverse range of recreational, professional and educational experiences that make him uniquely suited for his role at AW. Dave has more than 8 years of experience working on FERC Relicensing. Dave is somewhat of an anomaly, in that he has not only worked in an advocacy role but also as a consultant for several Utilities in the West. During that time he has had a role in 12 recreational flow studies as well as studies on angling and flat-water boating. Dave is also able to draw on his vast experience in a variety of recreational pursuits including having worked professionally in the areas of Paddling, Angling, Cycling, and Outdoor Retail.

Mark StemanMark Stemen

Mark Stemen, who graduated from Chico State in 1989 with a BA in Economics and in History, received his MA in History in 1993 and his Ph.D. in History in 1999, both degrees from the University of Iowa. Since 1999 he has been teaching environmental classes at Chico State in the Geography Department and he has been a tireless advocate for sustainability. He works with environmental groups in the City of Chico and throughout CSU as well as UC and the Community College systems.

In 2008 he and 17 Chico State students rode their bicycles on a 9 day trek to the Seventh Annual UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference, an environmental conference at San Luis Obispo where he was surprised with the title “Sustainability Champion.” Assistant vice chancellor for the CSU, said in her introductory remarks, "This CSU faculty member has more energy than seems humanly possible. He is a tireless advocate for sustainability, incorporating the concept into every fabric of his campus as he champions sustainability with his students, fellow faculty, campus staff, and the local community."

“Under his direction, his students recently completed greenhouse gas inventories for CSU, Chico, Butte Community College, and the City of Chico. He is advisor to eight student groups at CSU, Chico and faculty mentor to the new "Sustainability House" in the residence halls. Additionally, he is the executive director of Each One, Teach One of Northern California, a new community nonprofit focused on leadership development around issues of sustainability.” Source

In a recent email Dr. Stemen stated , “I have found that in university culture, Economics is often viewed as a "hard science." So early in my career, many in the academy saw me (to my benefit) as having a foot on both sides of the academic divide."

Tamzen StringhamTamzen Stringham

Tamzen K. Stringham, who graduated from Chico State in 1981, went to Oregon State University where she completed her M.S. in Agriculture and Resource Economics and her PhD in Rangeland Science. She is a professor in the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition and Veterinary Sciences, University of Nevada Reno.

In a recent email, Dr. Stringham stated that, “I began my higher education career at Chico State in 1977 in the field of Agricultural Business. I soon found a fascination and enjoyment with the subject matter of Economics and a mentor in Dr. John Orr. Dr. Orr and many other professors within the Economics Department at Chico State provided me with a strong analytical foundation and enhanced critical thinking skills that have served me well as I pursued advanced degrees in Agricultural and Resource Economics and in Rangeland Science.” Dr. Stringham had a successful career in the rangeland ecology research and teaching arena both at Oregon State University from 1997 to 2008 and now at the University of Nevada, Reno. She currently holds the Donna Anderson Endowed Professorship in Rangeland Management at UNR. In 2010 she won the Outstanding Achievement Award for Research from the Society for Range Management and in 2013 she won the USDA Secretary of Agriculture Honor Award given for significant contributions to the Agriculture Industry of the United States.

“Although I do not specifically work in the world of economics today it is important to remember that the root word for economics and ecology are the same – meaning house or home. I use the analytical and critical thinking skills learned within the economics profession on a daily basis. My approach to solving difficult land management problems is three pronged:

  1. Economically sustainable
  2. Ecologically sustainable
  3. Socially sustainable

Without all three the management plan will fail.  My background in economics, which began at Chico State, provided me with the understanding and the tools to develop sustainable management plans that work for society, the environment and the economy.”

Marco TorresMarco Torres

Marco Torres, who graduated with a BA in Economics in 2015, is a GIS specialist in the San Francisco Bay Area at ENGEO  This firm provides geotechnical and environmental services to both the private and public sectors. 

While a student at Chico State Marco worked as an economic and community development volunteer during the summer of 2013.  In the fall semester of 2013 he began working for the Center for Economic Development as a research assistant where he remained until he graduated.  On his Linkedin page Marco states that as “a research assistant at the Center for Economic Development (CED), my mission was to assist in applied research projects. I delivered the most recent and reliable information while utilizing programs such as ArcGIS and Microsoft Excel. My specialty included analyzing: social, economic, environmental, and demographic data.”  Marco also found time to be active in the CSU Chico Economics Club and the Geography Club.