imsd: Initiative for Maximizing Student Developement

The IMSD program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst combines solid academic support, specialized multi-stage mentoring, and state-of-the-art professional training to make it one of the most comprehensive academic programs available today to underrepresented minorities in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.

This innovative program seeks to increase the number of underrepresented minority doctoral students who complete Ph.D. degrees and postdoctoral fellowships to become leaders in biomedical and behavioral science research.

Stages Toward Success


Stage 1

Transitioning to Graduate School: Early and Sustained Engagement

  • IMSD Fellowship
  • IMSD Graduate School Orientation
  • Making the Transition to Graduate School Seminar Series
  • Annual Student-Advisor Dinner

Stage 2

Navigating Around Third-Year Obstacles: Achieving Candidacy

  • NIH-grant Funded RAs, T32 grants, or TAs in years 2-3
  • Tools of the Trade Professional Training Workshops
  • IMSD pathway to Independence Writing Retreat
  • IMSD Skill Development Travel Grants

Stage 3

Keep Your Eyes On the Prize: Moving Beyond the Doctorate

  • Competitive IMSD Dissertation Fellowship
  • RA and TA Funding Sources
  • Mentoring Through the Eminent Scientist Program
  • "A Ph.D. Is Not Enough" Professional Development Symposium
  • IMSD Finishing Strong Seminar Series
  • Beyond UMass Travel Funds


Dr. Heyda Martinez

Dr. Heyda Martinez is the Program Director for the IMSD program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Martinez attended the University of Puerto Rico where she received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Psychology. She later went on to receive her Doctorate of Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Currently she resides within the area and is a proud mother and grandmother.