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Julie Maxson

  • Associate Professor


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Geology
    University Of Minnesota, Twin Cities


Julie Maxson came to Metropolitan State University in 2007, following research and teaching experience at several liberal arts colleges, state universities, and a charter high school. Her work at Metropolitan State is guided by her commitments to teaching excellence, to equity and inclusion, and to environmental sustainability.

Dr. Maxson's research focuses on interpreting past environments and environmental change through analysis of soils and sedimentary deposits. Her current projects include identification of metal contamination (lead and arsenic) in urban soils, both in Saint Paul and in industrial settings in the eastern US. Her other projects, past and current, involve analysis of Cretaceous sedimentary deposits of Colorado and Utah. These deposits contain a rich dinosaur fauna as well as a geochemical record of environmental change during a period in earth history when carbon dioxide exceeded the values projected for 2050. Understanding of paleoclimatic and environmental change during that time therefore has direct relevance to modern climate destabilization.

Within the university, Dr. Maxson works with a team of colleagues across campus to advocate for the accessibility needs of students and employees, and to train faculty to better meet these needs in their courses. Her current teaching includes courses in environmental science and geology.

Professional Preparation

  • BA in Geology, Oberlin College
  • PhD in Geoscience, University of Minnesota

Select Presentations and Publications

Maxson, J., 2018.  Pedagogies, Programs, and Faculty Development for Adult Learners in STEM.  Conference Abstract, POD Network Annual Conference, November 2018

Gosselin, D., Burien, S. Lutz, T, and Maxson, J. 2015.  Integrating Geoscience into Education about Environment, Society, and Sustainability:  Three Case Studies of Undergraduate Learning.  Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 6: 531. doi:10.1007/s13412-015-0238-8. 

Synergistic Activities

Principal Investigator, 2020-2021. Minnesota State System Innovation Award, Expanding Faculty Capacity for Accessible Design. 

Principal Investigator, 2008-2009 Minnesota State System Discipline Teaching Grant, Advancing Inclusion in Earth and Environmental Sciences. 

Principal Investigator, October 2014-present, Collaboration for Urban Soil Assessment and Informal STEM education for Urban Youth.