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STEMing the Tide: How Female Experts and Peers Act as "Social Vaccines" for Girls and Women in STEM

Nilanjana Dasgupta headshot

As part of its Women In Science Initiative, the College of Natural Sciences presents a lecture by Dr. Nilanjana Dasgupta, Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Dr. Dasgupta is a leading expert on women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. 

In her presentation, Dr. 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 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.

Dr. Dasgupta has received multiple NSF grants, including a CAREER award, and a NIMH 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. 

All are welcome.  If you require free on-site child care in order to attend this event please contact Amanda  to reserve a space by Feb. 14th.  

For more information contact:  Sally Powers, CNS Associate Dean of Faculty Development:  or 413-577-6425.

Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 4:00pm
UMass Campus Center Auditorium
Free and open to the public

Dr. Nilanjana Dasgupta
Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst