College of Engineering News Room

Tempestt Neal of Computer Science Receives NSF CAREER Award

Tempestt Neal, assistant computer science and engineering professor, received a prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. The CAREER program is an initiative from the National Science Foundation to support early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education.

Her project titled, "Inclusive Cybersecurity Through the Lens of Accessible Identity and Access Management (I-CLAIM)." was recognized in the CAREER award, which includes a five-year grant of $607,272 to increase the cybersecurity awareness of individuals identifying as members of racial and ethnic groups historically excluded in Science and Engineering (S&E).

"I wrote an NSF career proposal to also look at authentication from the perspective of users of different races and ethnic groups. That's also significant because we deal with underrepresentation in science and engineering quite a bit," said Professor Neal.

Her team is conducting focus groups to identify current use and perceptions of existing authentication systems, their application to daily life, and how racial and cultural values shape perceptions in the space.

"First, we started with children and older adults, so we have the age perspective. Now we're looking at underrepresentation in terms of race and ethnicity, and so what we hope to do is keep developing that pattern and broadening that investigation of inclusive cybersecurity," said Professor Neal.

Dr. Neal is also the founder and director of the Cyber Identity and Behavior Research (CIBeR) Lab, which helps lead the research efforts around identity and access management, mobile biometrics, inclusive user authentication systems, and Smart Sensing. 

Her efforts and research centered around inclusivity in cybersecurity are essential in countering current and future threats, particularly those historically excluded communities face. For more information on Dr. Neal and her background, read here.