Chaminade University alumna Elizabeth “Lizzy” Schiller ’14 and her team from Smart Yields, a Honolulu-based agricultural technology firm, presented a sales pitch in Rome Dec. 4 as the last step in being considered for a Vatican-blessed accelerator initiative.

Smart Yields is one of nine companies participating in the Laudato Si’ Challenge, which locates, funds and mentors startup companies in keeping with an encyclical from Pope Francis to develop sustainable ways of solving the global climate crisis by 2030.

This includes reimagining food production systems to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and guarantee food security for all.

Schiller, who earned a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership, co-founded Smart Yields in 2015 and serves as chief operations officer. The company designed a mobile app that uses electronic sensors, real-time monitoring, data analytics and digital agronomy to improve the crop production of farmers and indoor growers.

Joining Schiller for the sales pitch to Vatican dignitaries, government officials and international business leaders was Smart Yields Chief Agricultural Officer Michael Rogers.

“We believe access to nutritious food is a basic human right,” Rogers said. “We are building a community that grows and learns together using technology to create a future with enough food for all to live peacefully in a healthy environment.”


Chaminade’s Division of Education offers a Master of Education Program with concentrations in Educational Leadership, Teacher Leader, Instructional Leadership, Child Development and Montessori Emphasis.