Chirico, who spent two years on Maui in the late 1990s, said she is excited about the propect of returning to the Valley Isle to be involved in a program focused on promoting sustainable practices in an island environment.
“While my research focus has been on sustainability, I also have a diverse background working in business, academia, nonprofits and government agencies,” said Chirico. “SLIM integrates my passion for sustainability with all of my previous work experience. I look forward to working with the community in making Maui a model for sustainability for islands around the world,” she said.
SLIM is a project of the University of Hawai`i Maui College (UHMC) developed in a partnership with Maui Land & Pineapple Co. to develop information and educational tools for creating policies and using technology for sustainable construction, energy and environmental programs.
Jennifer Chirico has been appointed executive director of the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui at the University of Hawai‘i Maui College.
Chirico, a Ph.D. candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has conducted research on air quality, green building standards, transportation alternatives and waste management issues for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia State Department of Transportation. She expects to complete her dissertation, “Waste Management Policy and the Barriers to Sustainability on Remote Islands,” this year.
During the past year, she was a research consultant for the Georgia Enterprise Innovation Institute on solid waste management technology and sustainable alternatives for the State of Georgia.
Prior to initiating graduate studies, Chirico earned a Bachelor of Science degree in management and finance and worked for two years as an investment consultant with Hewitt Associates, managing portfolios for major investor groups including private 401(k) and pension plans.
After taking a break to discover Maui, New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia, she went on to earn a master’s degree in public health with a major in environmental health from Portland State University, refocusing her career from finance to environmental issues. Her graduate work included employment with the Oregon Center for Environmental Health and Portland Sustainable Development Commission to reduce toxic emissions and prevent pollution in the City of Portland, Oregon.
After completing her master’s degree, she was a business consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton for three years working on projects for government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Ms. Chirico’s background in business management and finance and her academic and personal commitment to sustainability in environmental and energy developments make her a perfect fit as SLIM executive director,” UHMC Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto said. “SLIM will have an increasingly important role as UH Maui College expands its workforce development and technology education efforts to support sustainable energy development and resource protection in Maui County.”