By: Tiffany King
May 3, 2024

Anolita Hirsch ’27 will always be a Mariner, even when she leaves the College of Coastal Georgia to continue her academic career by working toward a degree in engineering. She was accepted into the University of Georgia’s Morehead Honors College, and will soon make her way from Brunswick to Athens. Although her time at the College was short, her experience has made her more than ready for the academic rigors of pursuing an engineering degree.

Hirsch was born in Haiti, where she lived until she was three years old. She was adopted and moved to the US, where her family lived in Chicago for a short period of time. They then moved to the St. Simons area and have been here for about 15 years, she said. Hirsch attended Glynn Academy and participated in the dual enrollment program at the College.

“I heard that the College had a lot of good courses to offer high schoolers who want to do dual enrollment,” Hirsch said. “A lot of people like the history and English courses here.”

In 2023, Anolita Hirsch was recognized as a Windward Scholar for participating in the dual enrollment program at the College of Coastal Georgia.

After graduating from Glynn Academy in May 2023, she enrolled at the College full time and started the degree track of an associate of science with an engineering pathway. Being at Coastal helped Hirsch get adjusted to college life.

“A lot of people recommended starting at Coastal Georgia because you’ll have professors that will work with you, making your first year of college more manageable and easier, and adjust to the college level,” she said. “It was also affordable and accessible for my budget. It all worked out together—it was the perfect option.”

Hirsch aspires to have a career in environmental engineering. Environmental engineers work to protect people from adverse environmental effects—such as pollution—and to improve the environment. These types of engineers use the principles of engineering, biology, soil science, and chemistry to develop solutions for environmental problems. Her interest in the field started in high school. In an oceanography class, her teacher talked about the variety of careers that exist in different fields.

“You don’t have to choose a career just to have a job, and you don’t have to choose a popular job. The teacher shared that different career fields all have jobs that can cater to your strengths and weaknesses. That’s when I decided to be open-minded to new careers,” Hirsch said. “Then, I had a family friend who has children who went to UGA. He said, ‘I know a couple of environmental engineers, and they love what they do.’ He helped me and taught me about what environmental engineering is about. I also did a lot of research and watched YouTube videos about it. I realized I really liked it.”

Hirsch was inspired by the different environmental challenges she’s seen over the years. She talked about the air pollution in Haiti and local superfund sites. Hirsch wants to make an impact to better the environment for herself and others.

“I’ve had to be conscience of environmental issues for a long time, so I thought I could get a career where I try to help and make changes in the world,” she said.

Onward to Morehead Honors College

Hirsch will carry the Mariner spirit with her to Morehead Honors College. The Honors College serves more than 2,800 undergraduates each year, providing its students with small class sizes, internship opportunities, travel-study funding, research opportunities, early registration, and more. Hirsch likes that she’ll be able to have small class sizes—something she learned to appreciate during her time at Coastal.

“I’m taking calculus III and differential equations now. That’s why I appreciate small classroom sizes and the flexible schedule, because I’m able to go to office hours and work with professors,” Hirsch said.

She’s also looking forward to taking advantage of the different opportunities available through the Honors College, as well as the academic rigor of honors courses.

Hirsch will eventually apply to UGA’s College of Engineering. Currently, she’s still undecided as to a specific career in environmental engineering.

“I’m hoping to figure that out once I get there and see the different concentrations, and see what I’m more drawn to. They have a few, such as water management and waste removal. It all depends on what I find interesting,” she said.

One of the requirements in applying for the Honors College is a letter of recommendation from a college instructor. Hirsch took calculus III with Dr. Aaron Yeager, assistant professor of mathematics, who wrote a letter of recommendation for her. Part of his letter reads:

“Anolita is currently undertaking the challenge of simultaneously tackling differential equations and calculus III. Despite the potential obstacles, she has embraced this challenge with enthusiasm and determination. Her commitment to excelling in both courses is genuinely commendable, demonstrating her resilience and capacity for academic excellence. Moreover, Anolita is deeply motivated by her community and personal experiences. Coming from Haiti, where educational opportunities are limited and environmental challenges are prevalent, she harbors a profound desire to effect positive change. Her aspiration to pursue environmental engineering stems from a genuine commitment to addressing environmental threats and advocating for sustainable solutions. Her unique background and perspective enrich her academic pursuits and underscore her determination to make a meaningful difference in the world.”

Being at Coastal has helped Hirsch get used to college-level academics. She was able to hone in her studying techniques and learned how to “think on a higher mentality.”

Hirsch is definitely going to miss being at Coastal. Some of her favorite moments include playing games before her calculus II class. Before class started, some students would play hangman on the whiteboard. Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Jose Lugo, who taught the class, would sometimes play along with students. Hirsch described it as a fun de-stresser before doing complicated math. Hirsch also enjoyed attending the first program of the Environmental Speaker Series that featured former Coastal Resources Division directors, especially since their work is related to conservation efforts and management. Hirsch talked of being able to meet the former directors and learn about their leadership. What she’s really going to miss are the professors.

“I felt like they really cared about you learning as much as you can. I learned a lot of useful skills, such as informative writing and things I would use in everyday life,” she said. “I appreciate the professors who are dedicated to having their students learn as much as possible.”

When Hirsch arrives at UGA, she won’t be there alone. She has friends who are currently in the honors program there, and they’ve given her some tips on how to navigate the program and campus life. As she takes in their advice, she leaves some of her own for her fellow students at Coastal.

“Take advantage of office hours and tutoring. A 30-minute tutoring session or at a professor’s office hours can really make a difference,” she said. “Cater your schedule for what works for you. Have a schedule that works well for your strengths. Also, walk around campus sometimes. On a day like today, where it’s really pretty, it’s nice to walk around or sit outside the dining hall and do schoolwork. There are a lot of good places to study on campus.”

Outside of academics, Hirsch enjoys reading, rollerblading, drawing, and digital art. One of her art pieces can be seen in the 2024 edition of Seaswells magazine.