Faculty Friday: Erika Miller
Dr. Erika Miller is an assistant professor in the systems engineering department.
Her current research interest involves human factors in the design and evaluation of new and existing systems, particularly applied in the transportation domain. She also teaches the Data Visualization course, Human Systems Integration course, and Risk Analysis course.
Where do you call home?
Well, I am from Seattle, Washington. But I’ve embraced Fort Collins as my home now; the near constant sun in Fort Collins definitely helped ease that transition!
Have you developed any “quarantine hobbies”?
I’ve been testing the applicability of my Civil Engineering degree on various home remodel projects; currently finishing my basement.
What is a typical workday like for you?
There really is no consistent order. It’s a lot of meetings – with students, colleagues, and potential collaborators. Prepping for class. Drinking coffee, a lot of coffee. My favorite part is when I fit time in to analyze data and write some R code. My dog’s favorite part is when I take a break and we go for a walk.
How long have you been at CSU?
Since August of 2018. Before that, I was finishing school at the University of Washington and working as an expert witness.
What is your area of research and what drew you to this research?
I am really interested in human factors. It’s fascinating to understand why people behave the way they do, and then design systems to account for this behavior. It’s also a lot of fun to collect human performance data and try to model behavior.
Every system has a human element at some point of its lifecycle, so it is widely applicable. Although lately, I mostly apply human factors to transportation systems, for example vehicle technology adoption and usability. Transportation has an impact on everyone’s lives, everyone can relate to it, and everyone has an opinion on how to make it better; so, it’s fun to be able to engage with nearly anyone about my research and see the impacts.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I spend a lot of time with my dog. He’s still a puppy and recently we’ve been working on not tripping each other while going on runs. We have a way to go on that still. If it wasn’t for quarantine, I’d be traveling. I love exploring new cities and countries, especially discovering local food and craft beer scenes.