SOSI Center


About The SOSI Center

Housed at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU), the Louis Stokes Regional Center of Excellence for the Study of STEM Interventions (SOSI Center) is a newly awarded NSF initiative which supports an inter-institutional collaboration between MU, Understanding Interventions that Broaden Participation in Science (UI), and the University of Michigan. The SOSI Center focuses on cultivating the cultural awareness and scholarly productivity of future and existing STEM training program leaders by providing venues for training and development related to critical, strengths-based theories and evidence-based practices. These concepts focus on facilitating underrepresented students’ success in STEM through:

  • Exploration of mechanisms that center students’ identities, cultures, and experiences, in meaningful ways, within STEM programming, teaching, mentoring, and research;
  • Implementation of research guided by identity-focused, and social-cognitive theoretical frameworks;
  • Methodologies relevant to developing critical scholarly contributions to inform practice and scholarship development and dissemination.

Overview of the SOSI Center Institutes

Although there has been growth in recent years in the dissemination of evidence based practices related to STEM training, practitioners, often trained in the basic sciences, have found the need for training in the relevant social and behavioral sciences not only for implementation, but for the generation of scholarship in a translational context, useful for dissemination and adoption.

The SOSI Center Summer Institutes’ themed Translating Critical, Strengths-Based Conceptual Frameworks to STEM Programming & Design will focus on providing program leaders with training relevant to the understanding and implementation of strength based frameworks for STEM interventions as well as the production of scholarship generated from program outcomes. Through our interactive workshops, panel discussions, and individual coaching, the Institute will provide training for its participants to:

  • Develop a critical-ecological understanding of the “problem” regarding facilitating underrepresented students’ success and matriculation in postsecondary STEM.

  • Learn about strengths-based theoretical frameworks, specifically Community Cultural Wealth (CCW), Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems ‎‎(PVEST), and Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) and how they can be used to design, implement, evaluate, and research STEM programming.

  • To foster an environment where participants can reflect on how to implement the theories of change and measurements into their own practice.


Translating Critical, Strengths-Based Conceptual Frameworks to STEM Programming & Design


2022 SOSI Center Summer Institute, June 26 – 28


The Louis Stokes Regional Center of Excellence for the Study of STEM Interventions (SOSI Center) invites you to apply for the summer institute, June 26 to 28, themed: Translating Critical, Strengths-Based Conceptual Frameworks to STEM Programming & Design. Exploring theory to practice and practice to theory.

2022 SOSI Center Summer Institute’s Application

While the previous virtual Institute focused on introducing asset based theoretical frames, this year’s in-person Institute will elaborate on the practical application of those frameworks to support the grant writing process, publishing work on enhancing STEM inclusion, and STEM related program design. With that, the goal of the Institute is to provide an engaging and interactive platform designed to result in a pragmatic product.


Tentative Schedule

June 26 Welcome Dinner Reception

June 27 Intervention/Structure/Scholarship 

During the first day, the participants will learn more about resources that SOSI Center provides in supporting scholarship, publication, and interventions rooted in asset-based theoretical frames. Furthermore, the participants will have a chance to link their program activities and outcomes to asset-based approaches in STEM intervention program design, research, and logic models. The afternoon sessions will engage the participants in deeper conversations on the applicability of the asset-based theoretical approaches in their current and future endeavors.

The dinner banquet provides an opportunity for the participants to find collaborative opportunities with other participants and facilitators.

June 28 Product 

The participatory structure of the second day, will provide the participants an opportunity to work towards an actual outcome.  Throughout the day, the participants will focus on logic model as it pertains to programing and design within two pragmatic categories, practice to theory versus theory to practice. The participants will also get the opportunity to hear from the experts in the field on the future of STEM programming and design.


Application Invitation Flyer


SOSI Center Leadership

Michael Garcia, PhD
SOSI Center Program Director
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
University of Missouri-Columbia
NaTashua Davis, PhD
SOSI Center Principal Investigator
Associate Vice Chancellor, Access and Leadership Development
Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity
University of Missouri-Columbia
Terrell Morton, PhD
SOSI Center Co-Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor of Identity and Justice in STEM Education
University of Missouri-Columbia
Natalie Downer, PhD
SOSI Center Co-Principal Investigator
MO LSAMP MU Site Coordinator
Associate Director, McNair Scholars Program
University of Missouri-Columbia
Anthony DePass, PhD
SOSI Center Program Co-Director
Director, Understanding Interventions that Broaden Participation in Science
President, DePass Academic Consulting
Shanta Outlaw, MS
Program Manager, Understanding Interventions Conference and Programs
University of Texas
Health Science Center at San Antonio
Angela Ebreo, PhD
Associate Director of the Diversity Research & Policy Program (DRPP)
University of Michigan
Mohammadali (Al) Dabiri
SOSI Center Coordinator
University of Missouri-Columbia
Doctoral Candidate of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
Glenn Gilyot
Web Designer
Doctoral Candidate of Organic Chemistry
University of Missouri


2021 SOSI Center Virtual Summer Institute, June 17-19 2021 program

SOSI 2021 Virtual Summer Institute Program