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Melinda Adams


Melinda Adams is from the San Carlos Apache and Tohono O'odham Nations.  She is a Master's student in Dr. Kevin Gibson's program.  Melinda came to Purdue after receiving her BS in Environmental Science from Haskell Indian Nations University, a tribal college in Lawrence, Kansas. 

Melinda heard about the Boilermaker Banner photo shoot opportunity at the Native American Education and Cultural Center and decided she would sign up.  She was very pleased when she was selected for the photo shoot and to appear on one of the banners that are featured throughout the Purdue campus.

She has been the recipient of two prestigious academic awards in 2011.  The American Indian College Fund recently awarded Melinda the Seven Stars Graduate Scholarship.  This scholarship is for an American Indian who has demonstrated exceptional academic achievement, superior achievement in Tribal and Community leadership and is pursuing an advance degree with a commitment to making positive changes in the American Indian Community.




Melinda also received the Grace Wall Barreda Fellowship through the American Indian Graduate Center.  This fellowship is awarded to a full-time student seeking an advanced degree in environmental studies and is a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe who is demonstrating excellent academic achievement, environmental leadership and service to the American Indian Community, and is committed to working for an American Indian organization.

Melinda's research is focused on the application of biochar to tallgrass prairie as a strategy for restoration.  Biochar is a soil amendment modeled after Terra preta soils, which are predominately found near the Amazon Basin.  These soils were created by Pre-columbian Indigenous tribes and contain increased levels of organic matter and nutrients, making them among the most fertile soils in the world.

Her career goals are to work for grassroots Native American environmental organizations such as the Indigenous Environmental Network or the Intertribal Agriculture Council, both of which promote the conservation, protection and management of tribal natural resources for the betterment of Native peoples.