Meet Miryha Runnerstrom, Assistant Professor

The School of Nursing & Health Studies is proud to welcome Miryha Runnerstrom, Assistant Professor. We asked Dr. Runnerstrom to take the time to answer a few questions for us.

Miryha Runnerstrom
Miryha Runnerstrom

Why UW Bothell?

There are many reasons why I’m thrilled to be at UW Bothell. For example, UW Bothell’s focus on transformational learning experiences, community engagement, and inclusivity aligns closely with my personal values and my scholarship. Plus, the opportunity to work with UWB’s amazing students was a big factor in choosing UW Bothell. I’m so excited to be a part of this student-focused community!

Tell me about your work. What are you currently working on?

My scholarship focuses on the positive health benefits of nature experiences, such as psychological restoration and stress reduction. My research interests also include the scholarship of teaching and learning in public health with a particular focus on how students best learn public health information. One of my current projects centers on student experiences during the shift to emergency remote instruction in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. For this work, I collaborated with a doctoral student and two undergraduate students to conduct focus group interviews with public health majors at my previous institution. We shared our findings with our university community in real time, so that faculty could more fully support students during this unprecedented public health emergency. We are now writing a manuscript so we can share our results more broadly.

Of your accomplishments workwise, which are you most proud of and why?

I’m definitely the most proud of my research collaborations with my students. Many of these projects have resulted in student-led conference presentations and peer-reviewed journal publications. This accomplishment is meaningful to me because, as an undergraduate student, I conducted research with a mentor and presented the results at a professional conference. That research experience was fundamental to my decision to go to graduate school and I hope to offer my students similar experiences.

What/who inspired you to choose your field? What/who inspires you now?

My doctoral advisor, Daniel Stokols, inspired me to study environmental psychology in graduate school. He encouraged and supported my interdisciplinary thinking and my interests in theory development. I’m still in awe of the way he connected research from broad perspectives to explain the interrelationship between people and the environment. Today, I’m inspired by the work of a number of scholars, from Paulo Freire’s work on popular education and praxis to Ibram X. Kendi’s work on antiracism. I’m currently rereading bell hook’s, Teaching to Transgress, which continues to guide and inform my teaching practice.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

Work-life balance is so important! Outside of work, I enjoy taking walks with my miniature dachshund, hiking, reading, and knitting. I spent the summer training for my first 5k run, which was a fun challenge. I hope there are more races in my future!

What else would you like readers to know about you?

I’m a first generation college student and scholar and one of my passions is supporting students who are also the first in their family to attend college. I’m always available for a chat with my students over coffee or tea about the exciting possibilities that await them.