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 the Sloan Fellows Program, a partnership program between UMass Boston and UMass Amherst.
  • 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 Elizabeth Smith, associate director.

 

Buju Dasgupta

Nilanjana Buju Dasgupta

Director

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).

Implicit Social Cognition Lab

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Internal Advisory Board

Dean of the Commonwealth Honors College
UMass Amherst

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

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, Nursing
UMass Amherst

Areas of Expertise:
The intersection of clinical needs and medical technology use, development and innovation
Associate Professor and Chair, Health Promotion and Policy
UMass Amherst

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

Areas of Expertise:
Syntax, Syntactic variation, African American English syntax and semantics, Acquisition and language development
Professor and Chair, Psychological and Brain Sciences
UMass Amherst

Areas of Expertise:
Clinical Psychology and Developmental Science
Associate Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
UMass Amherst

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

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
Principal
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
Photo of Liz Smith

Liz Smith

Associate Director

Liz Smith joined the Institute of Diversity Sciences in January 2024 after serving for eight years as Director of Foundation Relations in UMass Amherst's Advancement division, where she assisted faculty and staff from across campus in securing funding from private philanthropic foundations. Prior to returning to UMass, where she earned her undergraduate degree in 2004, Liz spent six years working as a development professional in New York—at a Bronx-based youth development organization called Rocking the Boat and at WNET, New York City’s public media company. She also worked for two years for the New York City Bar Association’s Office for Diversity, which works to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession in New York.

Liz holds an MA in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware and a BA in Journalism and Sociology from UMass Amherst. She believes strongly in IDS’ mission and is excited for the opportunity to help the institute continue to grow, evolve, and deepen its impact.         

Casandra Feen

Casandra Feen

Program Manager

Casandra Feen holds a Bachelor of Healthcare Management from the College of Our Lady of the Elms and an Associate of Sciences from Holyoke Community College. With a background in admissions, healthcare management, and community support, she brings a wealth of experience and dedication to her role as Program Manager for IDS’ Leadership Academy and Sloan Fellowship Programs. Casandra plays a crucial role in advancing the mission of the Institute and is instrumental in overseeing the day-to-day operations of its student facing programs, ensuring compliance with program goals, and fostering partnerships to enhance program outreach.

As Program Manager, Casandra is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technologists from diverse backgrounds, aligning with the core mission of the Institute. Her diverse skill set in data analysis, project management, and collaboration, coupled with her passion for diversity and inclusion in STEM, position her as an essential contributor to the impactful work of the Institute of Diversity Sciences.

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.

Photo of Jessica

Jessica DiPietro

Program Assistant

Jessica is a senior student pursuing an undergraduate degree in Public Health Sciences, and is a graduate of the Community Scholars Program at Umass. She possesses both an academic and personal dedication to social justice, and is working towards promoting equity here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Through this position, Jessica hopes to support STEM students of color and help create an open, inclusive educational environment. 

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

Photo of Emily DeGowin

Emily DeGowin

Data Manager

Emily is a sophomore student pursuing an undergraduate degree in Political Science with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Having an aptitude for analytical thought processing, as well as experience in solution-based goal setting, having the opportunity to be a part of the IDS team has allowed her to expand her experiences and future impact. 

Outside of IDS, throughout her academics Emily enjoys exploring research, as well as taking classes that continue to add world perspectives through critical thinking, both expanding her interests and further developing new ones to explore.  Outside of academics, she is a member of the UMass Minuteman Marching Band, as well as other ensembles on campus. Additionally, she enjoys reading and being outdoors.