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Clair received her doctorate degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan in 2002. After that, she began her career in nuclear emergency response at Los Alamos National Laboratory where her research involved signal processing of spectroscopic data.
She spent 4 years working in the federal government on related subjects and returned to academic research in 2012 as an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While there, her research focused on using machine learning to analyze the data from large sensor networks.
Deciding to focus more on machine learning, she accepted a job at GitHub as a machine learning engineer while maintaining adjunct assistant professor status at the University of Illinois.
In 2021 she joined Neo4j as a Graph Data Science Advocate. Additionally, she founded a company, La Neige Analytics, whose purpose is to provide data science expertise to the ski industry.
She has authored 4 book chapters, over 20 peer-reviewed papers, and more than 30 conference papers. Dr. Sullivan was the recipient of the DARPA Young Faculty Award in 2014 and the American Nuclear Society's Mary J. Oestmann Professional Women's Achievement Award in 2015.