STEMing the Tide: Female Experts and Peers act as “Social Vaccines” that Inoculate Young Women against Stereotypes and Increase their Participation in STEM Careers
Most STEM seminars are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month during the academic year in Hasbrouck 113 (note the room has changed from the one used for many prior events). Everyone is welcome; no reservations are needed, and there is no charge. Parking is available in the nearby Campus Center Garage. Refreshments will be available fifteen minutes before the lecture begins. Please note: This last Seminar on April 19th will be held at 4:30.
April 19 2016 4:30
Nilanjana Dasgupta, Professor, Psychology, UMass, Amherst
Nilanjana Dasgupta is a social psychologist whose work focuses on the effects of social contexts on implicit stereotypes - particularly on factors which insulate women in STEM fields from harmful stereotypes about their ability in those areas. Individuals’ choice to pursue one academic or professional path over another may feel like a free choice, but it is often constrained by subtle cues in achievement environments that signal who naturally belong there and who don’t. What factors release these constraints and enhance individuals’ freedom to pursue academic and professional paths despite stereotypes to the contrary? Dasgupta will present a series of studies addressing this question in the context of young women’s confidence, persistence, and career aspirations in science, mathematics, and engineering in the face of negative societal stereotypes casting doubt on their ability. Data shows that the presence of a few female experts or a critical mass of female peers in high achievement STEM settings function as social vaccines that increase female students’ social belonging in STEM and inoculate their self-concept against stereotypes. Based on the data, Professor Dasgupta will describe a set of research-driven remedies and interventions that promise to enhance the recruitment and retention of diverse groups in STEM classes, majors, and professions.