Sara Beery


I am queer  and I am a computer vision scientist and conservation technologist.//


My path to AI was far from a traditional one. My first career was in the arts, as a professional ballerina. At sixteen I graduated summa cum laude a year early from high school and moved across the country alone to dance with the Atlanta Ballet. On breaks from rehearsal I would attend free seminars at Georgia Tech on subjects ranging from astrophysics to neuroscience. I found the research fascinating, and was especially inspired by the humanitarian and environmental impact of technology. I developed a thirst for making a tangible difference in the world and promised myself that after my dance career I would return to school and obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to improve lives. The discipline I gained as a ballerina led me through two bachelor of science degrees in EE and Math and on to pursue a PhD in the Computational Vision Lab at Caltech, funded by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. I am devoted to learning as much as I can about AI and eager to find new ways to use it to understand and improve the health of our planet. My graduate research focuses on machine learning and computer vision for biodiversity monitoring, particularly for detection and recognition of animal species in challenging camera trap data at a global scale. I work closely with Microsoft AI for Earth and Google Research/Wildlife Insights where I help turn my research into usable tools for the ecology/biodiversity community.