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Alumni Spotlight

Lorraine Maxwell


Lorraine E. Maxwell, Ph.D. is an environmental psychologist and associate professor in the department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University.  Her research has focused on the effects of noise and density in the home and school on children’s cognitive development and behavior. She currently investigates attributes of the physical environment of school, home and neighborhood related to children’s and adolescents’ development of self-identity, self-efficacy, and competency and possible connections with academic achievement. Dr. Maxwell teaches the Programming Methods in Design course for the department as well as a course examining how gender, culture, stage in the life cycle and disability are reflected in the design of residential environments, public places, healthcare settings and the workplace.  She also teaches a graduate seminar on studies in human environment relations.  She is the Director of Graduate Studies for her department.

She received her doctoral degree in psychology (the Environmental Psychology subprogram) from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and holds a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University. Prior to her appointment at Cornell Dr. Maxwell was an associate in a New York City architectural firm. In this position she was responsible for developing facility design programs for a wide range of building types including hospitals, schools and offices.  Dr. Maxwell was also a city planner for Newark, New Jersey and an education planner in the Commissioner’s office of the State Department of New Jersey.