Dr. Hirsch is an applied cultural anthropologist specializing in community sustainability, cultural diversity, experiential education, and network building. She is recognized nationally for fostering grassroots participation in sustainability, climate, and energy action planning and implementation, using a unique combination of methodologies from anthropology, popular education, asset-based community development, participatory facilitation, and museum education. Before joining Georgia Tech, she worked as an independent consultant, focusing on campus sustainability and partnering with nonprofit organizations on community sustainability projects. From 2007-2012, she led the Field Museum’s Chicago program on community-based sustainability and climate change action.
Dr. Hirsch also has an extensive background in higher education administration. Between 2000-2007, she worked at Northwestern University as associate director of study abroad and then as director of Chicago Field Studies and lecturer in the Department of Anthropology.
Dr. Hirsch earned her PhD in cultural anthropology from Duke University and her bachelor’s degree in American culture from Northwestern University. She studied abroad at Waseda University in Japan and spent three years working in Japan for the Japanese government and Baxter Healthcare.