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Dancer, Engineer, Mathematician

SU senior Sara Beery receives prestigious NSF fellowship

Written by College of Science and Engineering
June 8, 2016

Sara Beery, a Seattle University senior receiving degrees in both computer engineering and applied mathematics, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in the field of robotics and computer vision.

The prestigious award is given to students with the potential to make significant contributions to research, teaching and industrial applications in science, mathematics and engineering each year, and provides three years of tuition and a living stipend.  

Beery will be accepting the fellowship and beginning her doctoral study in Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the California Institute of Technology in the fall, where she plans to develop applications of computer vision for environmental sustainability.

A non-traditional student, Beery spent five years dancing with the Atlanta Ballet and later with Armitage Gone Dance in New York City-this after graduating summa cum laude from high school (a year early).

"The time I spent as a dancer may seem completely unrelated to engineering, but the dedication and work ethic I developed as a professional ballerina are skills that are important in any field," said Beery in an interview with the College of Science and Engineering. "I also found that the ability to quickly learn choreography translated easily to learning mathematical algorithms, which was surprising."

While at SU, Beery has immersed herself in research. Working with faculty mentor Agnieszka Miguel (chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering), Beery developed digital image processing algorithms to help conservation biologists study the location and behavior of snow leopards. Their paper on the topic has been accepted for publication to the IEEE International Conference on Image Processing.

Read a profile of Beery at Science and Engineering.