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 an NSF initiative that 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.

For more information on SOSI, please contact the SOSI Center Director, Michael Garcia at


SOSI Center: Goals and Objectives

SOSI Center was founded with the purpose of improving student recruitment and retention in STEM by altering the approach to student training from deficit models to strength-based models. Our goals are:

  • Challenging and changing deficit-based approaches to supporting underrepresented students in STEM by teaching critical, strengths-based frameworks.
  • Demonstrating the capacity of critical, strengths-based frameworks to create and evaluate STEM learning spaces.
  • Offering a repository of resources specific to designing, implementing, researching, and evaluating STEM programming.
  • Increasing STEM programming research production and dissemination by teaching strategies for and presenting opportunities to publish.


SOSI Center: Activities, Tools and Resources

The SOSI Center leadership team works to coordinate a variety of activities, tools and resources designed to achieve the aforementioned goals .


Upcoming Events for 2024:

SOSI is set to Co-host the 2024 Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS) Annual Summit. More information about ARIS and the 2024 Summit.

Along with co-hosting, SOSI will also be hosting a pre-conference workshop featuring these three topics:

1. Broader Impacts Credentialing Course Preview for Introduction to Critical, Strengths-Based Approaches to Broadening Participation in STEM

2. Introduction to Critical, Strengths-Based Theories to Enhance Program Design, Implementation, and Dissemination

3. Resources for the Support of Research, Design, Implementation, and Dissemination of Efforts to Broaden Participation in STEM

More details on the SOSI workshop are here. You can register for the workshops and summit here.


SOSI ERN Workshop: A CCW-PVEST Informed Approach for Fostering an Inclusive, Innovative STEM Education Ecosystem.

Presented at Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in STEM which will be held in Washington, D.C. on March 14th – 16th, 2024. Register for the meeting here. 


Past Events:

Summer Institutes:

2nd Annual Summer Institute: June 26 – 28, 2022

1st Summer Institute: June 17- 19, 2021


Lunch and Learn Webinar Series:

Data Collection: October 2, 2023

Integrating Theory and Data: February 24, 2023

What is Data?: November 4, 2022


Professional Development Events:

Davis, N.D., Outlaw, S., Ebreo, A., Garcia, M.L., DePass, A., Downer, N. (2024) A CCW-PVEST Informed Approach for Fostering an Inclusive, Innovative STEM Education Ecosystem. Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), Washington, DC.

Morton, T.R., Davis, N.D., Outlaw, S., Ebreo, A., Downer, N., Garcia, M.L., DePass A. (2023) A Deeper Dive into Critical, Strengths-Based Theories Used to Enhance STEM Program Design and Dissemination. Understanding Interventions/NSF Crest Annual Conference. Salt Lake City, UT. August 2023.

Davis, N. & Garcia, M.L. (2023). Overview of the SOSI Center, goals, objectives, and highlights. LSRCE Breakout group presentation. (2023). National Science Foundation Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) PI/PD Meeting. June 2023.

Davis, N., & Morton, T.R. (2023). Equality or equity: STEM program professionals’ conceptions and implementation of equity in broadening participation. In T.R. Morton (Chair) Equity in STEM education research and praxis post “2020”. 96th Annual National Association of Research on Science Teaching annual conference, Chicago, IL. April 2023.

Morton, T.R., DePass, A., Outlaw, S., & Davis, N. (2023). Fostering critical, strengths-based STEM programs, activities, and research. Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), Washington, DC. February 2023.

DePass, A., & Morton, T.R. (2021). From practice to scholarship: Leveraging students’ cultural wealth to transform STEM teaching and mentoring. American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators annual conference, Virtual. June 2021.

Morton, T.R., Garcia, M.L. Davis, N., DePass, A., Downer, N., Ebreo, A., & Outlaw, S. (2020). STEM programming reform: The power and possibility of community cultural wealth. 12th Annual Understanding Interventions Conference. Virtual. December 2020.


Tools and Resources:

SOSI Center has a YouTube page. On this page, you can find current content that SOSI has developed including all three videos in our 1st Lunch and Learn Webinar Series.

Understanding Interventions (UI) Index is a user-friendly platform developed by UI and updated in collaboration with SOSI. The UI Index is a platform for performing searches for literature on broadening participation in STEM.

Understanding Interventions (UI) Journal is a journal dedicated to publishing high quality work that focuses on interventions rather than the scientific rationale or scientific approach utilized in developing an intervention.


SOSI Center: Meet the Team

The SOSI Center draws from the expertise of a diverse multi-organizational group with expertise in STEM education research and practice, STEM intervention studies and evaluation, and theories that are attentive to and inclusive of underrepresented students’ identities, culture, and experiences.



For more information on SOSI, please contact the SOSI Center Director, Michael Garcia at