Mel (Melinda Trueblood-Stimpson; they/them) is a scientist with over 16 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. For veterinary medicine, they are very passionate about cooperative veterinary care and the importance of ethology education for vet med professionals.

Mel spends their free time with their spouse, 9 cats, and two aquariums full of freshwater fishes. For volunteer work, they participate in mental health advocacy, community organizing, public education, and wildlife rehabilitation. Currently, they direct the federally recognized, 501c3 non-profit called Adopt Ohio.

Their passion for decolonizing all scientific fields comes from their being a marginalized or non-dominant identity within our society. Mel grew up in an impoverished, rural, and traditionally nomadic Romani G*psy family. They are also Indigenous, Jewish, Queer, 2S, Disabled, Neurodivergent, and multilingual. 

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Dr. Monica Cox; Stop Playing Diversity; completed 2022
  • The Dog Behavior Institute; Gender Identity & Inclusion; December 2022
  • Embodied in Color Conference (mental health); December 2022
  • KPA Clicker Expo; January 2023 
  • Native Wellness Institute; Being Trauma & Healing Informed; March 2023
  • Hood Herbalism; Intro to Herbalism; Fall 2023
  • Soar Circles; Digital Gathering of Indigenous Entrepreneurs; September 2023
  • Equitas Transforming Care Annual Conference; October 2023
  • Urban Native Collective; Indigenous Peoples’ Day Convergence; October 2023

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 (Advisor: Dr. Troy Farmer)
  • Effect of scent marks from anestrous and estrous females on use of space, nuzzling, and scent marking by male gray short-tailed opossums (Advisor: Dr. John Harder)
  • Jekhipe; Equity in Care for Romani Peoples (ongoing initiative)

Conference Presentations:

  • NASW, Michigan Chapter; Animal-Assisted Social Work Conference, 2020
  • CA Human Services; 20th Annual Autism Conference; lived experience panelist, 2022
  • My Dog Is My Home; Co-sheltering Conference; 2022
  • MCVMA RISE Annual Conference; 2022
  • World Roma Congress; Democratic Transition Team; 2023
  • Seed Savers Exchange Annual Conference; 2023


  • NASW Ohio Anti-Oppression Informed Practitioner; scholarship recipient in 2022
  • 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

Past Professional Memberships: