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EMAIL alumni@ctahr.hawaii.edu

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CTAHR Publications

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Calling SRS Alumni

Student Research Symposium mark

2018 marks the 30th anniversary of CTAHR’s Student Research Symposium. We want to hear from former participants. Share your recollections and tell us what you’re doing now. Email alumni@ctahr.hawaii.edu

  • Ernest Harris
  • Nellie Sujii
  • Michael Melzer
  • Janet Mock

Dr. Ernest J. Haris in lei with family

Ernest J. Harris: 2017 Outstanding Alumnus

During 41 years with USDA’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) in Honolulu, Dr. Ernest J. Harris (PhD in entomoogy 1975) developed and proved innovative approaches for suppression of tephritid fruit flies, a major agricultural pest. His male annihilation, sterile release, and biological control techniques have been widely adopted in Hawai‘i and around the world and earned him induction into the ARS Hall of Fame. He is also a recipient of a 2016 Congressional Gold Medal for breaking racial barriers as one of the first black Marines, and he has been honored by the NAACP, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and Black Hall of Fame in Arkansas, where he was born and picked cotton as a child.

View more photos  |  Nominate an Outstanding Alum for 2018

Nellie Sujii in tissue culture lab

Nellie Sujii: Plant Recovery Champion

Nellie Sugii was named a 2016 Recovery Champion by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for her leadership in efforts to preserve Hawai'i's rare plant species. As the Hawaiian Rare Plant Program manager with the University of Hawai'i at Manoa’s Harold L. Lyon Arboretum, Sugii has worked tirelessly to improve the status of these endemic species. Over the past 19 years, she developed the rare plant program into the most active  of its kind in the United States, playing a vital role in preventing plant extinctions. Drawing upon 30 years of experience, she developed methods and techniques to grow Hawai'i's unique plants via tissue culture and other techniques, successfully propagating more than 500 of the over 1,300 native Hawaiian plant taxa. Read more

Michael Melzer: Agricultural Sentinel

Plants can suffer from bacterial, viral, and fungal diseases as well as insect pests that slip into the Islands uninvited. Michael Melzer (MS, PhD) battles to keep such threats at bay. He heads CTAHR’s Agrosecurity Lab, part of a CTAHR-Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture project to improve and expand detection and diagnostic capabilities. Armed with a $2.6 million grant and crew of about 10 staff and students, Melzer pursues a three-pronged defense: vigilence (surveying for incoming and recently arrived pests and pathogens), weaponry (generating disease-free germplasm to produce more vigorous plants), and intelligence (using technology to discover and profile new pathogens). “When I was a student, you could spend a whole career doing what a machine can do in one day,” he marvels. Research is increasingly transdisciplinary, he adds, such as melding biology and engineering to sanitize soil with ultrasound or ionic radiation or monitor insect populations based on the unique acoustic signature of their beating wings.

Janet Mock seated talking to Oprah Winfrey

Janet Mock: Celebrity Journalist and Advocate

Janet Mock (BA in Fashion Design and Merchandising) has published her second memoir, Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me. The Never Before podcast host, Allure columnist, and feminist writes about “her journey to find her voice, her purpose, and her place in the world without a roadmap.”

After Redefining Realness, written from the perspective of a young transgender person, debuted at No. 19 on the New York Times Best Seller list in 2014, she “gained much of my inspiration from young people across the country who’ve asked me questions about being a first-generation college student, about working in corporate America, about building a career without compromising yourself, about self-care, about love and sex and friendship, and about navigating spaces not necessarily built for our survival.” Called one of the most influential people on the Internet by Time magazine, Mock moderated a Commission on the Status of Women panel at the United Nations and addressed the Women’s March on Washington.

Mock holds an MA from New York University and lives in New York City with her husband Aaron and their dog Cleo. Visit her website.


CTAHR Alumni Association and Friends

Board of Directors

Kauahi Perez, President
Diane Chung, Treasurer
Steve Sato, Sue Miller, Linda Ogata, Kainoa Lilly, Harvey Lee


CTAHRAA Scholarship

Mark Oandasan tipping hat

Congratulations Mark Oandasan, recipient of the 2017 CTAHR Alumni and Friends Association Endowed Scholarship. The Fashion Design and Merchandising major also received support from the Hawai‘i Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.