UMass Amherst Professor Nilanjana Dasgupta to Discuss Strategies for Encouraging Young Women to Pursue Careers in STEM Fields

Nilanjana Dasgupta
Nilanjana Dasgupta

AMHERST, Mass. – Nilanjana Dasgupta, professor of psychological and brain sciences, will speak on “STEMing the Tide: How Female Professors and Peers Can Encourage Young Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics” on Wednesday, April 19 at 4 p.m. in the Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Building at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The lecture concludes the university’s 2016-17 Distinguished Faculty Lecture series.

According to Dasgupta, the choice to pursue a given professional path may feel free but is often constrained by subtle social cues about who does and doesn’t “belong there.” Her lecture will show how such constraints can be lifted to allow students real freedom to pursue any academic and professional path, especially ones where their group is underrepresented. Dasgupta will review highlights from a decade of research identifying people and environments in high-achieving academic settings that act as “social vaccines” to inoculate young women’s self-confidence, motivation and persistence, protecting them against negative stereotypes.

The presentation will conclude by showcasing evidence-based remedies that may be leveraged to recruit and retain more women in STEM courses, majors, and careers, thereby increasing and diversifying the STEM workforce for the 21st century.

Dasgupta has authored or co-authored nearly 50 journal articles and has given invited talks in the U.S. and internationally.

A member of the UMass Amherst faculty since 2003, Dasgupta taught previously at the New School for Social Research in New York. She was promoted to associate professor in 2006 and professor in 2012. Since 2014, she has also served as director of faculty equity and inclusion in the College of Natural Sciences.

Her research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the American Psychological Foundation. She is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the Society for Experimental Social Psychology.

Last year, she received the Application of Personality and Social Psychology Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. The award honors a senior social or personality psychologist who has “applied theoretical and/or empirical psychological discoveries and advances to the understanding and improvement of important practical problems in education, health, law, politics or consumer behavior or worked with organizations, government agencies or industry across his or her career.”

Her work has appeared in theNew York Times, Boston Globe, London Times, National Public Radio, “PBS News Hour,” BBC Radio, ABC News, Scientific American Mind and Slate.com.

At UMass Amherst, she has received the Distinguished Academic Outreach Award, a Healey Endowment Grant and a Lilly Teaching Fellowship. She was also a Family Research Scholar at the university’s Center for Research on Families.

A graduate of Smith College, Dasgupta earned an M.S. and an M.Phil. in social psychology at Yale University, where she was awarded her Ph.D., also in social psychology.

At the conclusion of the lecture, Dasgupta will be presented with the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest recognition bestowed to faculty by the campus. A reception follows the lecture.

This lecture is free and open to the public. For information, call University Events at 413-577-1101.