2018 40 Under 40: Erica Ryherd, PhD, LEED AP; 39
Associate Professor, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb.
BS architectural engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan
PhD architectural engineering, University of Nebraska
Ryherd is an associate professor at the Durham School of Architectural Engineering & Construction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She graduated from Kansas State in 2001 with distinctions that included nomination into the Architectural Engineering Honor Society. She went on to receive her PhD in Architectural Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2006. Throughout her education, she developed a deep appreciation for engineered building systems (acoustics, lighting, HVAC, and spatial layout) and became increasingly interested in the impacts of these systems on occupant health. Ryherd went on to faculty positions in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech and currently at the Durham School of Architectural Engineering & Construction. She maintains an active schedule of teaching, conducting research, service, and outreach activities. A primary focus has been on improving the design of engineered systems for healthier occupant outcomes. For example, she has worked with more than 70 units in two dozen hospitals to help reduce noise, improve patient health and perception, and improve staff working environments. One of Ryherd’s passions is STEM educational outreach, which includes getting more kids interested in science, technology, engineering, and math and supporting educational enrichment activities for STEM college majors and early career professionals. She also is passionate about helping women and minorities pursue careers in STEM fields. She enjoys spending time with her family. She loves dancing; she and her husband have many dance parties at home with their two little girls. Ryherd is also an avid walker and enjoys being outside in the fresh air, even in the cold Nebraska winters. Other favorite pastimes include home decorating, renovation, and construction. She and her husband flipped their first house, have undertaken several major remodels in their current home, and are excited to be building a new house.