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Dr. Hirsch was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona.  He traveled the state hunting, fishing, and through his membership in the Boy Scouts.  After high school, he attended Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he earned a B.S. in English and Religious Studies.  During his summers, he also became a PADI Scuba Instructor and a Coast Guard-certified boat captain.  After spending a few years in the scuba industry in Florida and California he followed his future spouse to Arkansas and ended up (though a series of lucky breaks and some hard work) earning an M.S. in Plant Pathology and Ph.D. in Plant Science from the University of Arkansas despite his nontraditional background.  After stints as a visiting scholar at Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina and as staff scientist in the VA hospital system in Charleston, South Carolina, investigating the genetic correlates of depression and PTSD in combat veterans, he obtained a faculty position in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Kentucky.  He currently serves as a Lecturer in the Department of Plant Pathology and as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology Program, and enjoys spending his free time either scuba diving or with his family.

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