A new series where faculty members in UMD's Swenson College of Science & Engineering introduce themselves to provide more insight into their interests, their classes and their lives. This one was written and submitted by Assistant Professor Turuna Seecharan.
I am an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. I started at UMD in 2016, and my teaching focus is Industrial Engineering courses including Economic Analysis, Lean Production Management, and a new technical elective titled Data-Driven Engineering. My research focus is in the area of “Gamification”. Gamification is traditionally defined as the application of game elements in non-game applications. Examples of gamification include the use of scores and badges in devices like Fitbit to encourage people to exercise more. I am studying how to increase the effectiveness of gamification when people interact with data. My main project is to encourage young drivers to drive safer.
When I came to UMD in 2016, I started as a term faculty which means I had a 100% teaching contract. Prior to UMD, I spent a little over two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. I thought Duluth and UMD was a nice change from the hustle of Toronto. When the opportunity to move to a tenure-track position in 2018 opened, I decided to stay at UMD.
I was born, and lived twenty years, in Trinidad and Tobago. I then moved to Canada to pursue my MASc and PhD degrees in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. My parents and younger brother live in Canada but in Duluth I have some friends in the building in which I live. Occasionally, we get together for our favorite game Cards Against Humanity. I have played the Piano since I was four years old so I enjoy all the classical music concerts in Duluth.
I enjoy learning about the lifestyles of different people and communities. One of the best parts of my job is that I get the opportunity to travel. I am the board member of the International Society of Engineering Asset Management (ISEAM) and every year they host the World Congress in Engineering Asset Management (WCEAM) which I attend and present some of my research. This year, the WCEAM was hosted in Spain and on my way back to Duluth, through a 16-hour layover in Munich, I got the opportunity to have a beer in the Hofbrauhaus.