Mel (“Melinda”) is a Behavior Scientist with 15 years of experience with felines and numerous years of experience with other species. They consider felines, wildlife, exotics, and laboratory species to be their special area of interest. They attended The Ohio State University for bachelor’s degrees in Zoology and Wildlife Science & Conservation. Currently, they are working towards a master’s degree in Psychology and hope to pursue a joint MD/Ph.D. program. They have worked and volunteered in veterinary clinics, zoos, wildlife centers, laboratories, and other animal-oriented facilities. To maintain their medical knowledge, they work for a specialty veterinary facility. This has made them very passionate about cooperative veterinary care and the importance of animal welfare.

Mel spends their free time with their spouse, 9 cats (Kali, Bowie, Mercury, Loki, Isengard, Haldor, Alice, Freyja, Hypathia), and two aquariums full of freshwater fishes. For volunteer work, they participate in mental health advocacy, anti-racism & science education, wildlife rehabilitation, and currently they direct the federally recognized non-profit called Adopt Ohio.

Professional memberships:

Academic Highlights:

Certificates & Continuing Education:

  • Certified Animal Assisted Therapy Professional
  • Pet Partners Therapy Animal Handler
  • Certified Euthanasia Technician
  • Fear Free Shelter Program Graduate
  • Registered Laboratory Animal Technician from 2017 to 2019; AALAS
  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Practitioner
  • Train Your Cat! Course graduate; Karen Pryor Academy
  • Cat Behavior and Retention graduate; The Humane Society of the United States
  • Keys to Successful Animal Training; Illis Animal Behaviour Consulting
  • Normal Avian Behavior; Leslie Sinn, DVM, CPDT-KA
  • Impulse Control Course by Pet Harmony; Emily Strong, CDBC, CPBT-KA, SBA
  • Positive Reinforcement Based Nail Trimming; Lori Nanan; 2019
  • Managing Behavior Issues in Pet Birds; Valarie Tynes, DVM, Dipl. ACVB
  • Positive Reinforcement Training Approaches
  • Reinforcement and Reinforcers
  • Avian Positive Reinforcement Training
  • Feline Behavior Basics; Elanco
  • Reducing Stress in Companion Birds When Giving Medication; Heart of Feathers Education
  • Canine Separation Anxiety; Elanco
  • Stress Reduction & Enrichment for Shelter Cats; Kelley Bollen, MS, CABC
  • Feline Communication; Natasha Drain & Trish McMillan Loehr
  • Building Resilience in Dogs; Patricia McConnell, PhD, CAAB
  • Multi-dog Households; Patricia McConnell, PhD, CAAB
  • Increasing the Odds of a Successful Adoption, Patricia McConnell, PhD, CAAB
  • Defensive Dog Handling; Trish McMillan Loehr
  • Helping Shelter Dogs; Pet Professional Guild
  • Enrichment for Shelter Dogs; Kelley Bollen
  • Canine Body Language in the Shelter
  • Human Behavior & Dog Body Language; Heather Mohan-Gibbons and Trish McMillan Loehr
  • The science behind your cat and how to strengthen the human-cat bond
  • What Every Practitioner Should Know About Shelter Medicine
  • Behavior Consulting with Declawed Cats; Pet Professional Guild
  • Identifying and Managing Cat-Human Aggression; Pet Professional Guild
  • Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation; OWRA
  • Rabies Vector Species; OWRA
  • When Community Cats Need a New Address; Maddie’s Fund
  • Small Animal Toxins; Pet Poison Helpline
  • Pet Sitting Certification
  • EAGALA Pre-Training completed June 2020

Independent Research Projects:

  • Birds of Prey Behavioral Study
  • Predator-Prey Interactions of Fishes
  • Cetacean Brain Evolution
  • Ecological & Behavioral Effects of Anthropogenic Light Pollution on Bats
  • Migrant Shorebird/Waterfowl Behavioral Study
  • Urban Soil Toxicology
  • Coral Reef Ecology and Reproduction
  • Lacewing Care & Rearing
  • Yellow Perch Reproduction & Recruitment
  • Effect of scent marks from anestrous and estrous females on use of space, nuzzling, and scent marking by male gray short-tailed opossums


  • OWRA Betty Ross Education Scholarship; 2017
  • United States President’s Award for Educational Excellence; 2008
  • Ohio Outstanding Leadership; 2008
  • Community Service Award; 2008
  • State of Ohio Award of Merit; 2008
  • Hamilton Local Scholarship; 2008-2012
  • Peter B. Hann Memorial Scholarship; 2008