The University of Massachusetts Amherst

About Us

The institute hosts research groups on three topics—learning, health, and climate change—as they relate to STEM and social justice. Each group meets once a month, during which people share their research. New collaborations are often sparked by these meetings; some collaborative research teams have been funded by the institute. 

In our health group, researchers and practitioners are working on advancing equity in medical decision-making; promoting health in marginalized families; increasing access to healthcare for low income populations; and developing energy-efficient strategies to treat wastewater in under-resourced communities.

In our learning science group, faculty and students are designing remedies to promote gender, race, and class equity in STEM education; developing strategies to improve teachers’ accuracy in evaluating students; and designing technologies to teach adolescent drivers with ADHD how to drive safely.

In our climate change group, researchers and practitioners are working on developing strategies to mitigate the disparate impacts of climate change policies on particular communities, and identifying communities’ capacity for adaptive responses to climate change.

Our current seed grant awardees seek to:

  • Improve medical diagnosis of substance use disorders in emergency rooms
  • Develop novel teaching techniques using data visualization to improve mathematics comprehension and success among diverse students
  • Design specific types of assistive driving technology to help new adolescent drivers with ADHD drive safely.
  • Develop strategies to improve speech comprehension and learning in noisy classrooms for non-native speakers of English
  • Demonstrate how workplace discrimination litigation and employee diversity impacts firm performance and innovation outcomes.
     

Get engaged

Faculty, students, and staff: Attend a research group on one or all of our research topics — learning, 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 a graduate student-run organization to invite underrepresented scientists to campus to share their research, professional experiences, and serve as informal mentors.

UMass alums and friends: Make a gift, or contact us to discuss other forms of support.

Other ideas? Contact Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta, institute director, or Leyla Keough, program manager.

 

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).

http://people.umass.edu/nd/
(413) 545-0049

Steering Committee

Professor of Environmental Toxicology
UMass Amherst Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
Effects of socioeconomic status on breastfeeding and child nutrition.
Professor of Economics
UMass Amherst

Areas of Expertise:
Labor economics, economics of sexual orientation, impact of scholarly research
Professor of Psychology
Harvard University

Areas of Expertise:
Implicit bias, individual responsibility, and social ethics
Professor of Epidemiology
UMass Amherst Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
Reproductive epidemiology, physical activity during pregnancy, high-risk & ethnically diverse women.
Professor of Psychology
UMass Amherst Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
How cultural contexts and genetics influence parenting and child development
Professor of Psychology
University of Washington

Areas of Expertise:
Unconscious attitudes, stereotypes, prejudice
Associate Professor of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering
UMass Amherst Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
Health information technology, human factors, and engineering psychology
Professor of Psychology
UMass Amherst Faculty

Areas of Expertise:
Impact of race, ethnicity, gender, and social class on parent-child relationships
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
Leyla Keough Picture

Leyla Keough, Ph.D.

Program Manager

Leyla Keough is a cultural anthropologist, which informs her work as program manager for the institute. In the past, she worked as research development coordinator at the vice chancellor's office for research and engagement, where she managed the university’s membership in the Worldwide Universities Network.

At the institute, Keough works closely with the director to support multidisciplinary and socially impactful faculty collaborations. Keough helps to facilitate research groups, manage the institute's seed grant program, and coordinate special events and initiatives that bring together faculty and community organizations. 

Keough's own research has crossed disciplinary boundaries to better understand undocumented migration in the Middle East. This research informs her writing, teaching, and public engagement activities, and deeply resonates with her work on behalf of diversity and equity at the institute.

ljkeough@umass.edu
(413) 577-1314