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.



SOSI Lunch & Learn Webinar Series

The Louis Stokes Regional Center of Excellence for the Study of STEM Interventions (SOSI Center) hosts a Lunch and Learn Webinar Series which is free for registered participants. Aligning with the SOSI Center Summer Institutes’ theme of Translating Critical, Strengths-Based Conceptual Frameworks to STEM Programming & Design, these webinars will introduce the participants to the methodologies and pedagogies that inform their practices and scholarship development and dissemination.

The series is particularly beneficial for:

  • Those in the grant-writing process,
  • Those wanting to publish their work on enhancing STEM inclusion,
  • Faculty and administrators in STEM-related program design.

The first event, ‘What is Data?’ was held on Friday, November 4, 2022. “What is Data?” aimed to help participants understand how to identify data within STEM broadening participation programs and how they can use data to disseminate research outcomes and communicate the impact of their program. Here is the recording of the session for those who could not attend the webinar: What is Data Recording

We cordially ask you to complete the evaluation afterward; it seeks to gain more information about what you took away from the webinar. Your feedback can help improve our future webinar offerings:

And finally, register for the second webinar titled: “Integrating Theory and Data” on February 24, 2023, 11:30 – 1 pm (Central Time) for free at Registration for Integrating Theory and Data

“Integrating Theory and Data” offers a practical means to identify and integrate relevant theory and data. The webinar revisits data collection, analysis, and dissemination processes guided by critical strength-based theories. Participants will have unique opportunities to engage with the content through an interactive 90-minute session.


2022 SOSI Center Summer Institute, June 26 – 28

Translating Critical, Strengths-Based Conceptual Frameworks to STEM Programming & Design: Exploring Theory to Practice and Practice to Theory


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.

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

We will start the institute on Sunday evening June 26, 2022, at 7 pm with a welcome dinner reception at Hampton Inn & Suites Columbia located at 1225 Fellows Pl, Columbia, MO, 65201. On Day One June 27, 2022, we will start the morning sessions at 9:30, with registration desks open from 8:30 am. We will conclude the Institute on June 28, 2022, at 5:00 pm. A detailed schedule of the conference will be available on the SOSI Center’s website and a copy will be emailed to the participants.

  • June 26 Welcome Reception at 7 pm.
  • June 27 Intervention/Structure/Scholarship 

During the first day, the participants will learn more about the 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 programming and design within two pragmatic categories, practice to theory versus theory to practice. The participants will also get the opportunity to hear from experts in the field on the future of STEM programming and design.


Post-Institute Survey

Thank you so much for signing up to participate in the 2022 SOSI Center Summer Institute.
In addition to the informative and exciting presentations we are offering, we also invite you to participate in our ongoing research projects related to these activities. This project focuses on understanding how individuals involved with the design, implementation, and research associated with STEM programs understand “equity in STEM” and how said understandings shape your individual and collaborative engagements.
Please take the time to respond to the survey questions below.
These questions are short-answer responses.
We anticipate that it should not take anymore than 20 minutes to answer the questions provided.


Travel to Columbia MO

If you plan to fly to Columbia MO, Columbia Missouri’s airport, (COU) is the closest airport to town. There are rental cars as well as taxi services available at the airport.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport is the next convenient airport that offers shuttle services as well as rental cars. If you want to schedule the shuttle from St. Louis Lambert International Airport visit this website: MOX Airport Shuttle | STL | (

The city of Columbia houses the public land-grant research University of Missouri in Columbia. It is Missouri’s largest university and the flagship of the four-campus of the University of Missouri System.

You can find more information about the city at

Meanwhile, express your intent to attend the 2022 SOSI Center Summer Institute, “Translating Critical, Strengths-Based Conceptual Frameworks to STEM Programming & Design: Exploring Theory to Practice and Practice to Theory,” by June 6, 2022.

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 Illinois Chicago
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