Irina Ponomarenko

Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Soon after moving to California to pursue a graduate degree in political science at the UCLA, Iirina found herself spending more time reading books on wine than political science journals.  Eventually she obtained a number of wine industry certifications (WSET Advanced, CSW, FWS, IWS), culminating in a Silver-Pin Sommelier and Master Taster Certifications from the North American Sommelier Association in 2013.  

She has been working with NASA since 2013, coordinating courses and teaching parts of the Certified Sommelier curriculum in Los Angeles and San Francisco, eventually becoming NASA’s Secretary General in 2016.  Even though she did not pursue my initial career objective as a research scientist, what she inherited from her years in academia is a habit for meticulous approach to every task she takes on, a drive for continuous education for herself and a passion for educating others about the things she loves.

Her contribution to NASA has been extensive and priceless, which led her to be elected  as ‘Counselor’ in 2016, serving on the organization’s Executive Council.

In 2019 she is appointed as the North American Sommelier Association’s new VICE-PRESIDENT.