At UNC Charlotte, Dr. Hilger taught courses in sustainable design, ecological engineering, solid waste management, wastewater treatment, and environmental biotechnology. She was awarded the 2007 Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence, the campus’ highest honor for teaching. She is also the recipient of the 2008 UNC Board of Governor’s Award for Teaching. Her research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the federal Department of Education, the NC Water Resources Research Association, the Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Division, Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities, the NC Biotechnology Center, The NC Biofuels Center, and the NC Green Building Fund, among others. Her funding included support for several innovative teaching projects. She is also a National Science Foundation New Century Scholar.
Dr. Hilger has conducted research on anaerobic digestion of solid waste, landfill methane emissions abatement, the microbial quality of reclaimed water, wastewater process optimization, the use of waste gypsum as a soil amendment, and the use of recycled concrete for erosion control. Dr. Hilger served as faculty director of the UNC Charlotte Environmental Assistance Office for almost a decade, which conducts pollution prevention research and educational programs for small businesses and municipal agencies. As such, she has an active relationship with many of the region’s environmental agencies. She served for several years as an associate editor for Waste Management and Research, the journal of the International Waste Management Association (ISWA), and she has chaired numerous sessions at the Intercontinental Landfill Research Symposia.