Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences Graduate Program

About the TPSS Graduate Program

Research encompasses the use of observation and measurement to discover new knowledge, refine or refute existing knowledge, and develop technological innovations. Extension brings this knowledge and innovation to members of the public through community education and outreach. The research and extension activities carried out by faculty members, students, and staff in UH Mānoa’s Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences (TPSS) are two components of our mission as part of Hawai‘i’s land-grant college and university. (The third component is academic instruction).

TPSS research and extension are integrated. Most faculty members participate in both research and extension activities, although the fraction of time dedicated to each varies among faculty appointments. Research is a required component of TPSS degrees, and students can find opportunities to participate in extension both through working with faculty members and by joining organizations that engage in community outreach, including the TPSS Horticulture Society and the Student Organic Farm Training program. Additionally the GENE-ius Day program also provides educational outreach events for students and their families.

Granting agencies often require that projects they fund include coordinated research and extension efforts. Many TPSS facilities serve both research and extension functions. By linking the creation and propagation of knowledge, TPSS encourages members of the public to (1) benefit directly from the research they support through state and federal funding and (2) provide feedback to shape the direction of future investigations.




TPSS Student Organic Farming Training (SOFT) is a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students who share common interests in growing food sustainably and having fun. SOFT was initiated in 2007 and the SOFT Student Farm began in the spring of 2008 with a handful of students and faculty dedicated to creating a place for student exploration and leadership in agriculture. Since then, the farm has flourished, producing wonderful things to eat and a great community of lively students.



Every year, graduate students are elected for the TPSS Graduate Student Oganization (GSO). For the 2015 - 2016 school year, the TPSS GSO officers are:

  • Kauahi Perez - President
  • Tia Silvasy - Vice President
  • Greg Hoover ​- Secretary​
  • Aimee Uyehara - Treasurer​

The TPSS GSO strives to enrich the graduate student experience in our department by orchestrating social events and activities. The goal of these events is not only to provide camaraderie among students outside of the classroom and laboratory, but also to bring the entire department together, including faculty and staff, for informal events.

Annual Waffle Party

Before the start of the Fall semester, Dr. Ania Wieczorek, the TPSS Graduate Program Chairman, hosts a waffle breakfast for the TPSS graduate department to introduce incoming new graduate students and faculty members. It's a time to sit, eat and get to know new and old faces. And enjoy delicious waffles made by the graduate program chairman!