Andrea Pugh is a Second-Year Honors Environmental Science student at Florida A&M University (FAMU) and a third generation FAMU Rattler. In the fall of 2012, as an entering freshman, Andrea was awarded a NOAA Environmental Cooperative Science Center (ECSC) Scholarship. Pugh was also awarded the nationally recognized Gates Millennium Scholar Award, which is a 10-year scholarship to cover unmet academic financial needs through a doctoral degree. Andrea has been recognized extensively for her research on Biochar and its value in improving soil and water quality. Her research successes reflect her dedication, diligence, and interest in environmental management. Promising results during her first year of research on Biochar motivated her to delve deeper into the topic.
Ms. Pugh has received numerous awards recognizing her accomplishments as a young scientist. In 2010, she was awarded second place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, California. Her project entitled, "The Pyrolytic Synthesis of Biochar and Biofuel from Biowaste: An Analysis of Biochar and its Potential to Amend Fuel Crisis and Food Security," examined a process to use agricultural waste to improve soil quality and produce stronger crops and bioenergy. She is the first and only student representative from the Saginaw County (MI) Science and Engineering Fair to be awarded the namesake of a minor planet at the International Fair. The planet is registered by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is named Andreapugh. Earlier in 2010, Andrea was awarded the Bronze Medal (Third Place) at the Cosmos Foundation's International Sustainable World Project Olympiad for the same project.
Andrea plans to apply her scientific discoveries to help communities in the United States and developing countries. Pugh states, "It has been rewarding for me to realize that I play my part in changing the world's environment by promoting the sustainable use of global resources."
At an early age, Pugh was inspired by her aunt, Dr. Pamela Pugh-Smith - chairperson of the Michigan State Conference NAACP Health Committee. Her aunt's work with social and health justice education and research sparked her interest in environmental science. In 2011, Pugh visited FAMU's School of the Environment and was thoroughly impressed with the program. Pugh will continue her focus on Biochar and its value in improving soil and water quality- locally, nationally, and internationally, with the guidance of her academic advisor, Dr. Michael Abazinge, NOAA ECSC Director. Pugh's research work supports NOAA's mission by addressing the conservation and management of coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.