-By Taruna Rapaka
Sara Rojas Martínez is a 24-year-old Biomedical Engineering graduate from Bogotá, Colombia. Since childhood, Sara was fascinated by robots, technology, and artificial intelligence (AI). Her interest in technology motivated her to pursue a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. After obtaining her bachelor's degree from Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, she realized that she wanted to do something related to AI and humans, so she also pursued her master’s degree from the same university.
During her internship at KAUST, Sara was impressed by the multicultural makeup and research activities of her research group; and it was this first impression that prompted her to pursue a Ph.D. at KAUST. Sara will join KAUST in the fall of 2020 as a Ph.D. candidate and member of Professor Bernard Ghanem’s Image and Video Understanding Lab.
What was your main subject during your master's degree? Why did you choose it?
I was, and still am, a huge fan of AI and biomedical research, hence I did my bachelor’s project on visual evoked potentials during radiofrequency emission to humans (to see the effect of radiation). Finally, my master’s thesis was about human estimation pose in 2D images, and as a result, I am now working in computer vision (CV).
When did your interest in electrical engineering arise? What are your research interests?
My dad wanted to study electronics engineering, but unfortunately, this undergrad program wasn’t available. However, he always put robotic competitions on the TV or watched the news about technology. I guess he was the person who influenced me. I like CV in general, but if I have to pick a specific subject within this area, I’d say adversarial attacks or any application of CV in humans, fashion, or food.
Who will be your supervisor at KAUST?
Bernard Ghanem will supervise my Ph.D. He is a well-known professor and researcher in the CV community and has lots of experience in the field.
What are your hobbies? What are you passionate about?
I love cooking and trying new food, but also exercising a lot. I also like wall climbing and kickboxing, and I’m a fan of long walks and animals. I can spend a whole day reading about food, recipes, how to be healthier, or how to do new exercises that challenge me. I also like to read technology blogs, people’s opinions about new algorithms, and future CV plans.
Can you give a piece of advice to students who plan to pursue an M.S./Ph.D. at KAUST?
I’d say to them; they should do an internship first to see if they like the KAUST lifestyle since It’s quite different from what regular people are used to.