The University of Massachusetts Amherst

About Us

The Institute invests in multidisciplinary STEM research for social justice. We host research groups on three topicslearning & work, health, and climate change. Each group meets once a month for a seminar, during which people share their research and exchange ideas. New collaborations are often sparked by these meetings. These can lead to collaborative research teams, many which are funded by the institute. Read about the research our current seed grant awardees are conducting.

Our Massachusetts-wide Research-Practitioner Network brings together Researchers, Educators, Business Leaders, and Students (REBLS) to create solutions so that diverse populations succeed in computer science and engineering -- both in their educational pathways and in the STEM workforce.

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 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. 

Massachusetts Business Leaders, K-12 Outreach Professionals, Researchers, Educators in Tech & Engineering: Join the our research-practitioner network to connect with others who are interested in diversifying the STEM pipeline, recruit and work toward the success of diverse students in your field.

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
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
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
Assistant Professor
UMass Amherst

Areas of Expertise:
Effect of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and individual characteristics on driving behavior

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
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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
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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. 

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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.

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Alexia Guuinic

Program Coordinator

At the Institute, Alexia serves as the program coordinator of IDS’s research-practitioner network (REBLS Network) where she organizes events with researchers and staff in Higher Education, K-12 educators, business leaders, and students to promote equity and inclusion in Computer Science and Engineering. Alexia uses her intercultural expertise to support IDS’s focus on global diversity and equity in STEM. She is particularly interested in the implementation of educational strategies for historically underrepresented youth. 

Alexia has a Master's degree in Intercultural Management from the Institut Supérieur d'Interprétation et de Traduction in Paris, France. She also earned a certificate of photography from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Prior to joining the Institute of Diversity Sciences, Alexia worked in different industry positions, and was responsible for communications and photography.

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Ava Hawkes

Program Assistant

Ava Hawkes is a junior year student majoring in economics as well as social thought & political economy. She has experience in community and student organizing, specifically in the realm of women’s issues and combatting sexual violence on campus. As an economics major, Ava studies the economy through the lens of social justice. The economy can be viewed as a roadmap of the relationships between people and institutions, as well as how those relationships can be transformed in order to create a better world.

At IDS, Ava is a program assistant who performs administrative tasks which serves both students in the Leadership Academy and the team overseeing the program. She also works to support IDS research group seminars and other events, and our seed grant programs.

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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.