The Giant Killers 15 November 2021

The Giant Killers

PEPS grad students bring home a national championship

Hoʻomaikaʻi e nā haumāna! to Karim Gharbi, Mitchell Kirsch, Michelle Au, Kenneth Choi, and faculty coach Mark Wright of the UH Entomology Team for its first-ever national championship! Known as Ka Mea Kolo, the teammates representing the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences were crowned following the Entomology Games Competition at the National Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, held in-person in Denver.

To reach the finals, the CTAHR team first had to qualify at the ESA’s Pacific Branch Meeting, held virtually in March. They matched wits with a number of West Coast teams, losing to former champ UC Riverside but beating everyone else and thereby qualifying for the finals.

In Denver, they overcame that loss, first by beating the Rutgers University team in the preliminary rounds, then by stomping UC Riverside 80 to 20 in the first round of the finals. In the championship round, Ka Mea Kolo faced off against Texas A&M – and dominated the perennial heavyweight 110 to 45!

“This is the first time the University of Hawaiʻi has won this competition and it reflects the hard work, skill, and dedication of our students and their coach, Mark Wright,” says Dan Rubinoff.

“They beat the giants convincingly,” adds Mark. “Not bad for a small program! I’m proud of our students; they worked hard for this. In addition to being a great accomplishment for students, this brings considerable attention to UH and CTAHR, and raises our national profile quite nicely!”

Karim, Mitchell, Michelle, and Kenneth are grad students in the entomology labs of Mark, Dan, Jia-wei Tay, and Zhiqiang Cheng. Mitchell also won Best Poster in the Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology (MUVE) category. A big mahalo to the Tanada Family Entomology Fund and CTAHR New Faculty Start-Up Fund for helping to cover the students’ travel.

CTAHR Ka Lei Hano Award 15 November 2021

CTAHR Ka Lei Hano Award

The 2021 recipient is the Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau

The Hawai’i Farm Bureau is deeply honored to receive the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resource’s 2021 Ka Lei Hano Heritage Award. HFB is humbled to be recognized among a distinguished list of previous awardees. We also thank CTAHR for acknowledging HFB's contribution as the voice of Hawai’i’s agriculture industry. The pandemic forced Hawai‘i farmers, ranchers, and nurseries to adapt to very changed circumstances. The majority rely on tourism, hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, farmers’ markets, school lunch programs, and exports – and nearly all of these revenue sources were wiped out. There are 7,328 farms throughout the Islands, and all are important contributors to our economy, our communities, and our self-sufficiency.

HFB adjusted to provide new types of support to the state’s producers to ensure that local food is being produced and delivered to local households and residents. We worked with our local farmers to ramp up curbside delivery practices such as our “Farm to Car” program, home delivery services, CSAs, and partnered with local food banks and non-profit organizations through our “Farm to Food” and BRIDGES (Big Island Rural Agricultural Industries, Distribution and Growing Enterprise Strategies ) programs. These efforts helped farmers and ranchers continue to generate revenue when their normal markets reduced or stopped purchasing their products.

COVID-19 exposed the state’s food security challenges and highlighted the need to strengthen our partnerships and forge deeper connections within our community. HFB’s partnership with CTAHR cannot be overstated. The ongoing outreach and education, especially during difficult circumstances, are unparalleled in the state. Farmers and ranchers relied – and continue to rely – on CTAHR program for their very success. CTAHR has a century-long history of supporting agriculture in Hawai’i, caring for the environment, and enhancing and sustaining ecosystems. CTAHR’s scientific community has been crucial to the development of the agricultural sector. We believe that CTAHR’s mandate to engage in research, instruction, and outreach plays a vital role in the success of Hawai’i’s agricultural industry.

HISAM X CYC 15 November 2021


FDM alums will present new creative apparel collections THIS FRIDAY

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” said Sun Tzu. That ancient quote is apropos of two distinct new clothing lines from Chris Ching and Matt Bruning, respectively – and you are invited to their dual HISAM Fashion Presentation at the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum on Nov. 19! “CYC was born during the pandemic,” says Chris. He and Matt are alums of the Fashion Design and Merchandising Program of the Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Chris’ upcycle collection features new styles made from fabric archive and creative finds showing details in voids, shapes, and distress dyes. Matt’s “Where Do We Go From Here” is a resort collection that reflects on the transitioning of life out of darkness. As it mirrors the effect of the recent pandemic, Matt wants to portray the unknown, uncomfortableness, and confusion represented by a dark, all-black color palette.

HISAM X CYC Fashion Presentation

  • November 19th starting at 5:00 p.m.
  • Hawaii State Art Museum, 250 South Hotel St, Honolulu
  • Vaccination Proof Required on Entry
  • today!


You can also find CYC this holiday season:

  • November 21: The Okumura Building Presents The Artist Market (Kaimuki)
  • November 27: The Pop Up Shop with Ruri Murakami (Kaimuki)
  • ecember 11-12: ʻAlohilani Resort (Waikiki)

“My personal UH educational experience provided me with valuable outside perspectives of the working world and its potential professional pathways available to me,” Chris notes. “I was able to learn from individuals who have worked in the fashion realm and they informed my first steps of how to make a career. I have also found it’s invaluable to dive into real life work and opportunities when they present themselves. Freelancing, collaborations, and general work helps to narrow your career path into something that you can feel passionate about every day.”

He adds, “I’ve spent my professional career around luxury retail and merchandising. I wanted to utilize the education into a personal artistic expression which was inspired by slow fashion, creativity, textiles, and design. I’m still learning with each new collection, on the back-end and front to developing a brand that is in the intersection of artistic design and sustainability. I encourage you all to find your drive, don’t be afraid of making mistakes, and dive in!”

Cultivating Kindness 15 November 2021

Cultivating Kindness

HDFS prof authors a new book for Hawaiʻi’s keiki

With 1,000 copies sponsored and disseminated by the Hawaiʻi Dept. of Human Services, Office of Youth Services, of a new book by Thao Le, social service and human resource agencies throughout the state will be more equipped to help our keiki with their social-emotional learning and literacy skills. “Akahai” is a creative narrative for encouraging loving kindness among our keiki. It draws inspiration from Aloha, as espoused by the teaching of Native Hawaiian poet and philosopher Aunty Pīlahi Paki, explains Thao of the Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences, and resonates with the kind seed in each of us.

“The book focuses on akahai, kindness, and encourages keiki to explore what it means to be kind and what is kindness,” she says. “My hope is for it to serve as a useful socio-emotional resource during this pandemic.”

Thao’s intern student, Adam Ting, is the book’s illustrator. Her graduate research assistant Mayuho Kunogi and intern Johnette Funtanilla presented Akahai at the recent Schools of the Future Conference under the socio-emotional learning sector, and are currently developing cultural- and place-based lesson plans.

Several copies are also being provided to Hawaiʻi Dept. of Education resource teachers, one of whom noted, “I enjoyed the cute story so much that I read the book again and again. Akahai is so appropriate and needed nowadays because people are heightened with anxiety and anger, resulting in more selfish and unkind behaviors.”

Pick up your copy of Akahai from Legacy Isle Publishing. Thao is currently working on a related work focusing on humility. She’s also the guest on Wednesdays on Olelo channel 53 to discuss the book.

Gettin’ Medieval 15 November 2021

Gettin’ Medieval

Hats off to another spectacular PEPS Pumpkin Carving Contest

Our 2021 PEPS Pumpkin Carving Contest was a very spirited competition among our various PEPS research labs, which submitted creative, prideful, and meticulous works of art. This year's voting was done both in person and online to accommodate our fellow colleagues who are working from home. To support a local farmer, we used our enhancement Foundation Account to purchases pumpkins from Aloun Farm. We truly appreciate all the participation and support from our faculty, staff, and students to make this year's event a successful one, and we congratulate the 2021 PEPS Pumpkin Carving Contest Winners!

1st Place!  Hanul Seo in Mohammad Arif’s lab

"I chose to carve a devil inspired by cherubs/angels depicted in medieval art,” says Hanul. “They often appear with the four heads (lion, ox, eagle, man) of the four living creatures mentioned in the book of Ezekiel. The pose with the hand in blessing and the orb is commonly found in portraits of royalty. [I find that] cute, quaint, funny, sexy, or superhero Halloween decor and apparel is nice, but it makes things less scary, so I decided to embrace tradition and do my best medieval woodcut interpretation of Satan to provide some balance."

2nd Place!  Alexandra Kong in Michael Melzer's Lab

"We wanted to make a jack ‘o lantern that would capture the spirit of both Hawaiʻi and Halloween, so we decided to make a headless horseman – but on vacation in Hawaiʻi. In one hand, he is holding his pineapple head while he gives us a shaka with the other hand."

3rd Place!  Jia-Wei Tay's Lab

“The PEPS Prison ‘captures’ a whole other side of our acclaimed faculty!” J

4th Place! Mark Wright's Lab

“A praying mantis eyeing up its next meal: a caterpillar!”