Psychology Professor Nilanjana Dasgupta to Discuss Shortage of Women in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fields
AMHERST, Mass. – Nilanjana Dasgupta, professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will speak on “STEMing the Tide: How Female Experts and Peers Act as ‘Social Vaccines’ for Girls and Women in STEM” on Thursday, Feb. 28at 4 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium.
In her presentation, Dasgupta will propose that individuals’ choice to pursue one career path over another is not really a free choice, but rather is constrained by subtle expectations in achievement environments that send the message some individuals “naturally belong” in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers and others don’t. She will discuss her current research on how contact with female professors and peers in science and math classes functions as “social vaccines’ that protect women’s academic self-confidence despite negative stereotypes, thereby increasing their interest in pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math as majors and careers.
Dasgupta has received multiple National Science Foundation grants, including a CAREER award, and a National Institute of Mental Health grant to study women’s careers and how academic environments shape women’s thinking and behavior regarding science achievement. Her research examines how unspoken stereotypes in social environments affect people’s attitudes and behavior in subtle, often unconscious ways. She has received the Hidden Bias Research Prize for her groundbreaking research on gender equity in the classroom, the Wayne F. Placek Award from the American Psychological Foundation, and the Morton Deutsch Award from the International Society for Justice Research.