Kilhoe “Miranda” NaAssistant Professor, Communication and Media
COM3401C-A Principles of Public Relations
In this edition of “Fast Five: Quick Q&As with Members of the Merrimack Community,” we talk to Kilhoe “Miranda” Na, an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media in the School of Liberal Arts. In her native South Korea, she worked as a journalist before becoming a professor.
Fast Five Q&A with Kilhoe “Miranda” Na
You study message virality. Can you explain what that means?
Virality measures how frequently people share a message—like a Facebook post, for example. Typically, if you see something “going viral,” you’re more likely to believe that it’s accurate—and you’re more likely to share the information with others. I want to curb the spread of misinformation, but to do that, I have to first understand why people
Do you have any findings that stand out?
I’ve found that when your current emotional state matches the emotion evoked by a message, you’re more likely to accept that message as truth. For example, if you are upset for some reason—maybe you just had a fight with your girlfriend—and you see a message that makes you angry, you’re more likely to believe the message is factual than if you’d read it when you were calm.
What do you enjoy about teaching?
Honestly, this sounds weird, but I don’t see myself as a teacher. I see myself more as a guide. I help students acquire the knowledge they need and advise them on their path. When I was young, my ultimate goal was to change the world—a big ambition, I know. But I think I’m realizing that goal by helping my students.
What do you like most about working at Merrimack College?
I’m really impressed by my colleagues. When I was a newspaper reporter, I learned how important it is to have good colleagues. When I visited Merrimack last year, I thought, “These people are awesome. I really want this job!”
What advice do you have for today’s college students?
Think about how you want to spend your time and do something that really matters to you. Whether that’s working or studying or something else—do what’s important to you.
Miranda is teaching her popular course Principles of Public Relations (COM3401C-A) during Merrimack’s Summer Session.