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Professor Tempestt Neal named Mentor of the Year for 2023


Dr. Tempestt Neal (assistant professor, CSE), founder and director of the Cyber Identity and Behavior Research Lab at the University of South Florida, has received the Sloan Mentor of the Year Award for 2023. She was nominated by two of her PhD students, Sayde King and Wilson Lozano. 

PhD Candidate Sayde King first met Dr. Neal as an undergraduate, and began volunteering for her research group.

Sayde King

“Dr. Neal often says ‘Try it! Let’s see what happens.’ I tend to analyze things deeply sometimes this crosses into overthinking and what Dr. Neal calls ‘analysis paralysis’. She kind of jumpstarts me by encouraging me to just give an idea (often crazy ones) a try.” said candidate Sayde King.

Sayde is researching AI for lie detection in mental health, and will soon finish collecting data to analyze for her dissertation. She hopes to find behavioral cues that are indicative of deception.

Wilson Lozano

One of her other students, Wilson Lozano, is working with two projects: one is to identify the travel behavior of people using cellphone data, and the other applies AI to improve the quality of life of dementia patients. “Wilson is a diligent student with immense potential to become a powerhouse researcher, especially as his expertise continues to evolve.” said Dr. Neal.

“She welcomes you to her office, you can feel that she cares about you as a person, not just as a student.  She has the skill of making you leave each one-on-one meeting with an ‘I can do this’ feeling.” said Wilson.

“I am fortunate to work with such dedicated and promising individuals,” said Dr. Neal.

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