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Presented By: Department of Psychology

Psychology Diversity Week Colloquium and Awards Presentation*

Devasmita Chakraverty, Associate Professor, Ravi J. Matthai Centre For Educational Innovation, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

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Impostor phenomenon and workplace violence: Understanding how students and professionals in STEM and medicine navigate unsafe academic spaces while feeling like a fraud

Impostor feelings occur when successful people attribute their success to extraneous factors (luck, other’s kindness, fluke) rather than their ability and competence. Experiencing it can be problematic for academics, especially those in competitive fields such as STEM and medicine. Popular media views impostor phenomenon as an individual trait experienced especially by women that could be overcome by journaling about one’s successes or achievements. Such views do not acknowledge the role of the environment’s role in propagating impostor feelings. It further marginalizes those already underrepresented and struggling for career advancement in these competitive fields: women, members of the BIPOC community, first-generation students, and others. Using data from a large-scale interview study conducted in the US, this talk addresses how unsafe academic environments and workplace violence could be related to impostor phenomenon, with examples in STEM and medicine. This talk also highlights recent research in the field that nudges us to take a holistic view of the issue and think of this phenomenon as more than an individual trait. Please bring paper, pencil, your curiosity, and questions.

About the speaker: Devasmita Chakraverty, PhD, is Associate Professor at the Ravi J. Matthai Centre for Educational Innovation, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. She has been internationally recognized as one of the most prolific publishers of peer-reviewed empirical research on impostor phenomenon. She first heard of the term in 2012 while interviewing physicians and scientists for her PhD dissertation. She was struck by the contradiction that some competent and successful people believed themselves to be otherwise. She has actively worked in this field since 2017 and has published in several peer-reviewed journals such as CBE- Life Sciences Education; Violence and Gender; and BMC Medical Education. Devasmita holds a PhD degree in Science Education (University of Virginia) and Master of Public Health (University of Washington). Prior to IIM Ahmedabad, she was a faculty member in the College of Education, Washington State University. Devasmita tweets about her research @DevasmitaTweets and can be reached at

* The winners of the Department of Psychology Diversity Awards will be announced following Dr. Chakraverty's presentation.
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