Meldrena Chapin

  • B.A., architecture and sociology, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, 1993
  • B.Arch., architecture, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, 1994
  • M.A., gerontology, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, 1998
  • Ph.D., architecture, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, 2008

Exploring, learning and being creative are my passions. It is exciting to see students investigating new ways of gaining information and synthesizing knowledge. Learning to think and apply information in a whole new way is powerful, giving us the opportunity to change the world. In interior design, this means the ability to impact the experience others have in everyday settings and special places alike. The physical environment can be either a benefit or a detriment to positive experiences. The smallest details can make a huge difference in how we experience the world. Teaching students the nuances of environmental design and placemaking enhances their skills and design competence, but also creates a better world for all, one setting at a time.

Meldrena Chapin | Interior design professor

Awards, recognition and honors

American Institute of Architects/Academy of Architecture for Health Arthur N. Tuttle Graduate Fellowship in Health Care Design, 2004-2005; University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Dissertation Fellowship, 2004-2005; University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Graduate Student Chancellor's Award, 2003-2004


Environmental Design Research Association, Friends of Kebyar, Interior Design Educators Council, Mythic Imagination Institute, Sigma Phi Omega National Gerontology Honor Society

Previous Positions

Researcher, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Institute for Aging and the Environment; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; architectural designer/researcher, FreemanWhite, Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina

Publications and presentations


  • "The Language of Change: Finding Words to Define Culture Change in Long-Term Care," Journal of Arts and Humanities in Aging, 2010
  • "EDRA39: Linking Differences / Defining Actions. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association," with B. Rodriquez, Environmental Design Research Association, 2008
  • "EDRA37: Beyond Conflict. Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association," with A. Greenberg, Environmental Design Research Association, 2006
  • "Book Review: Building Type Basics for Senior Living by Bradford Perkins, with J. David Hoglund, Douglas King, and Eric Cohen; Stephen A. Kliment," Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 2006


  • "Healthy Aging by Design," presentation to the Atlanta Housing Authority, 2010
  • "Design for Active Living," American Society on Aging National Conference, Chicago, Illinois, 2010
  • "Facilitating Transformation: The Tools and Processes Used in Long-term Care Culture Change," webinar, Long-Term Care Living Magazine CEU webinar series hosted by Vendome Group, March 10, 2010
  • "The Client's Approach to Culture Change: Tools and Processes for Culture Change in Long-term Care," ARE Continuing Education Presentation, 2009
  • "Culture Change and the Physical Environment: Design as an agent of change," symposium by Diaz Moore, Calkins, Chapin, Geboy, and Kaup, Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting, National Harbor, Maryland, 2008
  • "Seeking a Definition of Culture Change in Long-term Care," poster presentation Southern Gerontological Society 29th Annual Meeting - Gerontology at the Cutting Edge, Atlanta, Georgia, 2008
  • "Tools and Processes for Culture Change in Long-term Care," paper presentation EDRA38: Building Sustainable Communities, Environmental Design Research Association Annual Conference, Sacramento, California, 2007