Sara has always loved the natural world, and she sees a growing need for technology-based approaches to conservation and sustainability challenges. She received her PhD in Computing and Mathematical Sciences from Caltech, advised by Pietro Perona. Her research focuses on building computer vision methods that enable global-scale biodiversity monitoring, tackling real-world challenges including strong spatiotemporal correlations, imperfect data quality, fine-grained categories, and long-tailed distributions. She was honored to be awarded both the PIMCO Data Science Fellowship and the Amazon AI4Science Fellowship, which recognize senior graduate students that have had a remarkable impact in machine learning and data science, and in their application to fields beyond computer science.
She seeks to break down knowledge barriers between fields: she founded the successful AI for Conservation slack community (with almost 900 members) and she is the founding director of the Caltech Summer School on Computer Vision Methods for Ecology. She works closely with Microsoft AI for Earth, Google Research, and Wildlife Insights where she helps turn her research into usable tools for the ecological community.