Junior Fellowship: Ava Tran


Printed with permission of Ava Tran

Ava Tran ’22 smiles in front of shrubbery.

Fallon Dern

Ava Tran ’22, one of eight upper school students chosen by The Kutler Center Junior Fellowship Program, is using her awarded $4,000 to research environmentalism in Vietnam.

The program sponsors independent research in the academic, artistic, cultural or creative spheres: Tran’s project satisfies all four fields.

“My fellowship is going to be a documentary about rural aquaculture in Vietnam, more specifically the Vietnam Sustainable Shrimp Alliance (VSSA) made in 2018,” Tran said. “It’s headed by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s seafood sustainability program called Seafood Watch and is basically a huge partnership with other international and Vietnamese organizations dedicated to supporting small shrimp farms in Vietnam.”

Seafood Watch provides support consisting of financial aid, technological advancements and business consulting to improve the quality and sustainability of shrimp farming. Tran researches these practices and communicates with environmentalists and the farmers themselves.

“I’ve been attending Zoom conferences with organizations to learn about what actions are currently being taken for VSSA, how the industry is being impacted by COVID-19 and new technological advancements,” Tran said. “I’m also communicating with farmers in Vietnam to learn about their perspective and get video footage.”

Tran said she hopes that her project can inspire sustainable dietary changes within the school community. The project aims to emphasize how consumers, farmers and the environment all benefit from eco-friendly farming.

“I believe this issue is important because sustainability itself is very important,” Tran said. “VSSA tells a really great uplifting story about international cooperation towards a greater good. It spreads awareness about the sustainability of agriculture to the [school] community and might influence the choices students make when it comes to food.”