Meet Our Engineers: Sara Pisanelli

 In Employees

Sara Pisanelli is a software engineer who graduated from University of Michigan with degrees in cognitive science and in biopsychology, cognition and neuroscience. “I didn’t think I was going to be an engineer until I became one, because as a kid, I liked microbiology and paleontology,” Said Sara.  “I hadn’t written any code at all until freshman year of college, when I realized, hey, this is really cool!  

While attending the university’s career fair, she was introduced to SoarTech. “I knew it was a place I wanted to work when I looked at the website and saw the work being done.”

One of the problems that Sara is trying to solve is when and to what extent a pilot should be focused on flying the aircraft versus doing other tasks like directly a mission. “I think this is a really interesting one because it focuses on the relationship between the human and the AI to understand both what each can do and what the human thinks of the AI,” she explained.

“I think AI needs to be human centered because most of the amazing things that we want to accomplish with AI are already routinely done by humans,” Sara continued. “Often, the goal of some technology is for it to function ‘like a person.’ If we have an example of a working system, then why not use it as a model?”

Considering what she’s worked on so far at SoarTech, Sara is proud of her efforts to code air vehicles to scout map sectors and grids to determine which sector an entity is in. She also wrote a replay logger tool that the team has been using to test our code and helped integrate and parse incoming information to update helmet mounted displays on the project.

For both companies and employees, operating during the pandemic has been quite different.  “It’s definitely been a weird start to my career in this pandemic, but it’s been great to learn from and work with the people here regardless,” Sara said. “My project leads have done a great job making me feel welcome and part of the team even remotely, and I’m excited to be able to come into the office once it is safe.”


Sara enjoys playing board games and also enjoys reading, mainly science fiction and fantasy. 

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