The U’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and its External Advisory Board are proud to recognize Chris Hirschi as this year’s Alum of the Year. Hirschi is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Sarcos Robotics working on electromechanical systems where he designs mobile robots, exoskeletons, and more. He also is dedicated to promoting STEM activities for kids and is a longtime mentor with the FIRST Robotics program.

Hirschi was always interested in mechanical things, making engineering a natural pursuit. “I started college without any electrical engineering background and felt way behind in my first electrical engineering class,” said Hirschi, “but when I got to mechatronics, a light went on.”

With that interested kindled, Hirschi went on to focus a fair amount of his education on electrical engineering and controls. He received both his Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Utah. After graduation, Hirschi joined Sarcos Robotics, where he has helped design their MDMR Snake Robot for DARPA, eventually serving as the primary driver for the robot and serving as the technical lead on the project for over 10 years.

Now, Hirschi is the most senior mechanical engineer at Sarcos, in terms of both tenure and years of experience. He currently co-leads mechanical efforts of an exoskeleton project while mentoring young engineers and newcomers to the company.

In addition to his impressive work in robotics, Hirschi is also an avid mentor and advocate for STEM activities for kids, particularly within the FIRST organization. He coached multiple FIRST Lego League teams for 11 years and has served in FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) in various capacities for 14 years.  He was a judge for many Utah regionals and has mentored several Utah teams, mostly at the Academy of Math, Engineering, and Science, where his three sons participate. He continually recruits those around him as volunteers, including his family and Sarcos colleagues. For the past four years, Hirschi has focused his FIRST volunteering efforts on coaching the FRC team at Cottonwood High, which is populated mostly by immigrants and refugees.

Hirschi will be presenting a seminar on April 28th at 3pm in MEK 3550. Refreshments will be served afterward, followed by lab tours.