2022 SIA Women in Biometrics Awards Profile: Delia McGarry

Delia McGarry accepting her award alongside SIA Women in Biometrics Awards presenters Benji Hutchinson and Cathy Tilton

2022 SIA Women in Biometrics Awards winner Delia McGarry – a senior director at IDEMIA National Security Solutions (NSS) – has 26 years of experience in digital image processing and 20 years in biometrics, including experience in federal, industry and academic spaces. McGarry got her start in the industry while earning her master’s degree at the University of Virginia (UVA).

“I became interested in image processing while doing graduate work for the UVA Department of Neurosurgery on image guided surgical planning,” she said. “I then worked at the National Institutes of Health developing image processing software for visualization, diagnostics, brain atlas mapping and registration of a variety of biomedical imaging applications. I transitioned into biometrics for national security after the Patriot Act and Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002, in which biometrics were mandated for travel documents.”

McGarry has extensive knowledge of the U.S. Department of State’s identity management and secure credentialing processes and systems, having provided biometrics and image processing subject matter expertise continuously since the inception of the department’s integration of biometrics into the travel document issuance process. As the senior director of IDEMIA NSS’ Face Recognition, Passport Book and Passport Card portfolio, McGarry focuses on the application of emerging identity management and credentialing solutions to satisfy customer business needs, legislated mandates and agency policies. Prior to joining IDEMIA in 2020, McGarry served as a project manager and biometrics engineer at Noblis.

“I have supported the Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs as a biometrics engineer continuously for 20 years since the inception of their adoption of biometrics for travel documents – first at Noblis, followed by IDEMIA NSS,” she said. “I also supported the U.S. Department of Homeland Security United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program. Specializing in face recognition, this work included matcher and sensor evaluation and calibration, international image and machine readable travel document standards for interoperability, communications and outreach, examiner training, presentation attack synthesis and detection, automated image quality assessment, end-to-end system engineering from image capture to document personalization and the evaluation, calibration, production and personalization of security credentials (passport card and passport book).”

McGarry says her proudest accomplishments in the biometrics field are helping to design the original concept of operation for the U.S. Department of State to use biometrics to prevent ineligible applicants from obtaining travel documents, developing international standards for biometric data interchange and machine-readable travel documents, deploying live capture pilots at U.S. embassies and researching presentation attack synthesis and detection to prevent fraudulent applications. She holds a M.Sc. in biomedical engineering (medical imaging) and a B.S. in engineering science/applied mathematics from UVA and studied electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

McGarry was honored, along with four other recipients of the 2022 SIA Women in Biometrics Awards, on May 24 during a special award ceremony at the SIA GovSummit, SIA’s annual public policy and government security conference.

“I am grateful to the U.S. Department of State for sponsoring and inspiring 20 years of substantive biometrics experience,” she said while accepting her award.

The SIA Women in Biometrics Awards are generously supported by 2022 sponsors IDEMIA and Paravision and organizational and media partners AVISIAN, Biometric Update, FindBiometrics and SIA’s Identity and Biometric Technology Advisory Board and Women in Security Forum.