The University of Massachusetts Amherst

About Us

Photos of the IDS team

The mission of the Institute of Diversity Sciences is to advance STEM research that tackles complex societal problems, to show how inequality affects health, learning, work, and the environment. We also develop solutions. By drawing attention to research on social problems, we attract diverse groups of students, faculty, and community members and connect them to each other. We are matchmakers. We nurture the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technologists from diverse groups. 

We also operate and support programs that help STEM students thrive from college to careers:

  • We host a professional speaker series for students called "Creating Pathways to Social Good in your STEM Career"
  • We organize a Leadership Academy for students traditionally under-represented in tech and engineering, which includes a summer online course and a year-long mentorship program.
  • We started a Sloan Fellowship program, partnership program between UMass Boston and UMass Amherst, funded by a grant from the Alfred P.  Sloan Foundation.
  • We support the BRiDGE program, which hosts talks by scientists from diverse backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in STEM. Speakers present on their research and its broader impacts. The program is designed and run by graduate students in STEM and promotes their career development.

You can read more about our programs in our annual Impact Report or our biannual E-Newsletter. Previous and current IDS E-Newsletters and short videos on our activities can be found here

Get engaged

Faculty, students, and staff: Attend a multidisciplinary seminar on one or all of our research themes — learning & work, health, and climate change. Listen, learn, and present your work. Start a new collaboration with researchers and practitioners who share your interests. Apply for funding from the institute to tackle a research problem related to equity or diversity. 

Students: Work with us to invite underrepresented scientists to campus to share their research, professional experiences, and serve as informal mentors; join our REBLS Network to connect with Massachusetts researchers, business leaders, and other students in your field. Apply for the IDS Leadership Academy.

UMass alums and friends: Be a mentor or an invited speaker, join our external advisory board, or make a gift.

Other ideas? Contact Nilanjana Buju Dasgupta, institute director, or Megan West, associate director.


Buju Dasgupta

Nilanjana Buju Dasgupta


Buju Dasgupta is a professor of psychology in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, and also the director of faculty equity & inclusion in the College of Natural Sciences at UMass Amherst. Her research centers on unconscious or implicit bias with emphasis on the ways in which changes in social contexts produce corresponding changes in people’s implicit attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. Dasgupta’s research identifies academic and professional contexts that protect individuals' sense of self and aspirations against negative stereotypes. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the American Psychological Foundation.

Dasgupta focuses much of her time on translating scientific research to inform social problems such as educational disparities in science, engineering, and mathematics, and the underrepresentation of women and ethnic minorities in professional leadership roles. She has presented this work to K-12 teachers and administrators, university leaders and faculty, business leaders, policymakers on Capitol Hill, and at a White House roundtable in the Obama administration.

Dagupta’s work has been recognized through the Distinguished Academic Outreach Award in Research from UMass Amherst (2014), the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity (2016), and the Hidden Bias Research Prize awarded by the Level Playing Field Institute, a private foundation based in Silicon Valley (2012).
(413) 545-0049

Internal Advisory Board

Dean of the Commonwealth Honors College
UMass Amherst Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
Latinx/ethnic media studies, inequalities, power, community engaged scholarship
Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
UMass Amherst Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
Developmental Science, self-regulation, executive function, theory of mind, temperament, and behavioral/emotional problems
Co-Director, Elaine Marieb Center for Nursing and Engineering Innovation; Associate Professor
UMass Amherst Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
The intersection of clinical needs and medical technology use, development and innovation
Associate Professor and Program Head, Health Policy and Management
UMass Amherst Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
Maternal-child health care quality, organizational behavior, communication in health care, implementation science, healthcare equity
Distinguished University Professor, Department of Linguistics
UMass Amherst Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
Syntax, Syntactic variation, African American English syntax and semantics, Acquisition and language development
Associate Chancellor of Partnership and Innovation & Distinguished Professor, Computer Science
UMass Amherst Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
Computer network protocols and architecture, network measurement, sensor networks, and multimedia communication
Professor, Department Chair, Psychological and Brain Sciences
UMass Amherst

Areas of Expertise:
Clinical Psychology and Developmental Science
Assistant Professor
UMass Amherst

Areas of Expertise:
Effect of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and individual characteristics on driving behavior
Assistant Professor, College of Education
UMass Amherst Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
Multilingual Learners in Science Learning Environments (Translanguaging), Equity and Justice in Science Education, Science Teacher Education, Elementary Science Education, Physics Education Research, Family-based STEM Learning

External Advisory Board

Professor and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor
UMass Amherst

Areas of Expertise:
Institution-level strategic initiatives promoting student success, learning science, and social and developmental approaches to education
Image of Susan Morgensztern
Susan Morgensztern
Strategic Development Consultant

Areas of Expertise:

New technologies and markets for biotech, medical device and diagnostic firms; UMass Amherst School of Public Health '71; Co-Leader of Seattle UMASS Alumni Network.

Founder & CEO
Liminal Creations

Areas of Expertise:
Science communication, journalism, environmental science, policy, and social media
Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Princeton University Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
Computational psychiatry, learning and decision making, mentoring
Intersections: Science, Business, Diversity Consulting

Areas of Expertise:
Cell biologist, founding member of Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), AAAS Science fellow
Picture of Megan West

Megan West

Associate Director

Megan has spent over a decade working in research labs. She credits her undergraduate experience of using zebrafish to study multiple sclerosis with her research trajectory. After graduation, she went on to construct the core zebrafish facility at Case Western Reserve University and used zebrafish to study hearing loss. Megan continued using zebrafish while researching retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa. She then decided to switch to proteins and studied Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) and its implication in fertilization.  

Megan is passionate about science and making all aspects of it accessible. Throughout her career, she has been involved in engaging students of all ages in science through outreach initiatives and has worked to ensure all individuals feel welcome in STEM. She joined IDS after several years of working as the Director of Administration and Outreach for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UMass. 

Megan received a M.S. from Case Western Reserve University and is a native of Ohio. For better or worse, she is a dedicated Cleveland Browns fan. 

Picture of Vince Mack

Vince Mack

Business & Operations Manager

Vince Mack is a graduate of Springfield College, earning both his undergraduate degree in Healthcare Administration, and his Master’s in Business Administration. Vince is an avid car enthusiast and has a range of hobbies and interests including botany, eclectic and vintage décor, and visual arts. Vince has worked in both the nonprofit and profit sectors, and he has multi-pronged experience in all aspects of operations. It has allowed him a solid understanding of collaborative practices and tools that promote successful and productive organizational synergy. 

Vince began his career in the educational sector at University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT as Budget Manager for the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture. Vince found the participation and student interaction with various projects very enjoyable, and he believes the creative and energetic environment of higher learning allows him to thrive.

The commitment of the Institute of Diversity Sciences (IDS) to social justice within STEM matches his core philosophy about humanity and equality. Vince is deeply appreciative to be a part of the work that IDS is doing. He’s personally faced challenges regarding diversity and inclusion in his educational pursuits, as well as in the workplace. He believes IDS is a unique opportunity to advance diversity in a way that both educates and elevates individuals to fulfill their greatest potential.

Pic of Elise Carrier

Elise Carrier, EdD

Leadership Academy, Program Manager and Teaching Fellow

Drawn by the Institute of Diversity Science's impactful work in the equity and diversity space, Elise Carrier joined their team in the Spring of 2023. She believes higher education can be a transformative experience that opens doors to personal growth, professional development, and socioeconomic mobility. To ensure access to higher education is equitable and inclusive, her work has focused on breaking down those barriers that prevent all students equal access and opportunity. Elise is thrilled to be part of the Institute of Diversity Sciences and the work being done to ensure the success of a diverse set of students.

Having completed her undergraduate degree in Business Management at Westfield State University, she went on to obtain her MS in Leadership & Negotiation and her EdD in Higher Education Leadership and Organizational Studies from Bay Path University. Before joining the Institute of Diversity Sciences, Elise gained experience in various roles within finance and higher education.

Pic of Autumn Reynolds

Autumn Reynolds

Program Assistant

Autumn Reynolds is a senior student pursuing her undergraduate degree in Public Health and Accelerated Master's degree in Health Policy and Management at UMass Amherst. With a deep-rooted passion for ensuring health equity and promoting diversity, Autumn is a dedicated advocate for creating inclusive environments and fostering positive social change. Throughout her academic journey, Autumn has actively worked towards advancing health equity and social diversity in the world.

As a Program Assistant for the IDS team, Autumn provides valuable administrative support for IDS initiatives ensuring efficient operations and seamless coordination within the program.

Pic of Saaradhaa Muthunatarajan

Saaradhaa Muthunatarajan 

Data Manager

Saaradhaa is a graduate student in the data analytics and computational social science (DACSS) program. This complements her role as a part-time data manager at the Institute. Saaradhaa integrates her interests in quantitative research and social good to generate insights that allow the Institute to expand the approachability of STEM to underrepresented groups.

Saaradhaa graduated from the National University of Singapore with an Honours degree in Psychology. Before graduate school, she applied her skills in research, organisation and communication by working in government and industry for two years.