2012 Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

Tarana Patel, MATESOL '01

Tarana believes learning is an experience, not an exercise; an effective teacher inspires innovative thought and nurtures self-expression. With such ideas as her guide, Tarana recently founded LearnEd, Inc. through which she strives to create customized English development and teacher training experiences in the higher education setting in Gujarat, India. She is the Education Development Advisor at the S. K. Campus of The Nootan Education Group in Gujarat and runs short-term English programs for students and faculty. Tarana has also held the following positions in the USA and China: Academic Director of International Education Programs, University of California, Riverside (UCR); UCR Overseas Program Development Director, Beijing; Curriculum Developer & Instructor, Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) Summer Language Programs. Tarana has a B.A. in Economics from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MATESOL) from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She is bilingual in Gujarati and English, fluent in German & Hindi, and has working knowledge of  Mandarin and Spanish. Tarana presents and volunteers extensively at the Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in the USA, and has also presented at international conferences. Travel is Tarana's favorite hobby followed by photography, and paper crafts. She has lived, studied, and worked in India, Germany, USA, and China and has backpacked, kayaked, hiked, ridden camels, and sailed in 22 countries. She considers herself fortunate to be able to turn her passion for teaching and learning languages into profession. More info at  taranaweb.com.

Casson Trenor, MAIEP ’05

From saving the whales of the Antarctic to studying the salmon of Alaska, Casson Trenor has worked to support stewardship of our marine resources across the globe. Trenor has stalked the fetid warehouses of Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, spent months journeying by ship through the icy waters of Antarctica, berthed on leaking wrecks off the African coast, and gone octopus fishing with holy men on the Island of Yap. In hundreds of conversations with fishermen around the world, he has heard one statement repeated time and time again:

“The fish are gone.” 

These four words led Trenor to realize that the oceans are in dire need of our help.

Trenor holds the position of Senior Markets Campaigner with Greenpeace USA, where he spearheads the organization’s efforts to hold restaurants and supermarkets accountable for their seafood sustainability practices and to help educate the public about the global fisheries crisis.  He is also the author of Sustainable Sushi: A Guide to Saving the Oceans One Bite at a Time, a pocket guide that enables consumers to dine with confidence at the sushi bar.  He also owns and maintains www.sustainablesushi.net, a popular blog and reference website concentrating on sushi and ocean conservation.

Trenor is a frequent commentator on sustainable seafood issues and has been featured in regional, national, and international media outlets, including CNN, NPR, Forbes, New York Times, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Tampa Tribune, UTNE Reader, Hemispheres, Tokyo Weekender, Kochi Shimbun, and Edible San Francisco.  He also writes articles for numerous other websites and publications, such as his For the Oceans column at alternet.org, and speaks extensively through a diverse array of panels, lectures, and presentations around the world. In April 2012, Trenor delivered a TED talk at TEDxSF on a new paradigm for contemporary activism and the role of personal passion in achieving conservation goals.

In an effort to bring sustainable sushi out of the conceptual realm and into the Amerian foodscape, Trenor founded the world’s first sustainable sushi restaurant, San Francisco’s Tataki Sushi and Sake Bar, in February 2008. He has also converted two “conventional” sushi bars – Seattle’s Mashiko and Miya’s in New Haven, CT – into sustainable sushi operations.  In October 2010, Trenor opened Tataki South, a venture that expanded the concept of sustainable sushi as a fine dining experience; and in May 2011, Trenor co-founded Ki, the world’s first sustainability-themed izakaya. This allowed Trenor the opportunity to transcend traditional sushi establishments and to champion sustainability and environmental responsibility within the nightlife industry. November 2011 saw the opening of Tataki Canyon, the third restaurant under the Tataki banner, through which Trenor concentrates on fully aligning sushi and Japanese culinary tradition with seasonal ingredients and community-focused cuisine.

In October 2009, Trenor was awarded the title “Hero of the Environment” by TIME Magazine, and in August 2010, Trenor received a Congressional Commendation and the “Ocean Protection Hero” award from the well-respected environmental organization Save Our Shores. Documentarist Mark Hall’s 2011 award-winning film Sushi: The Global Catch focuses extensively on Trenor, glowingly showcasing his work within the sustainable sushi movement. Trenor is also a primary focus of Peter Young’s forthcoming Antarctic conservation documentary The Last Ocean, as well as a main character in Peter Heller’s book, The Whale Warriors – a factual account of the exploits of one small, rusty ship determined to take on the entire Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean in 2005-2006.

Born in Washington State and living in San Francisco, Casson speaks five languages, has traveled to over fifty countries, and holds an MA in International Environmental Policy from the prestigious Monterey Institute of International Studies.



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