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Keriayn Smith, PhDDr. Keriayn Smith (Assistant Professor, Genetics) serves as the Board Chair for the Society for Scientific Advancement (SOSA),currently celebrating its ten-year anniversary.  The vision of SOSA is “To contribute to improvements in STEM infrastructure and performance in developing countries, and for underserved groups, as a means for social advancement.”

SOSA accomplishes its goals by focusing on the following areas:

  • Support training of young scientists including facilitating international opportunities and internships, as well as organizing workshops and conferences.
  • Expose youngsters to science as a means to come up with innovative solutions to problems.
  • Host sessions for junior university and/or senior high school students about career possibilities for scientists.
  • Development of a searchable database and network of scientists who are interested in volunteerism. Such a resource will facilitate collaborations and serve as a means for recognition of progress.
  • Improve scientific prowess of underrepresented scientists by facilitating the development of beneficial relationships and collaborations with scientists located in various regions.
  • Participate in the improvement of policies that currently impede scientific advancement.


According to Dr. Smith, “It feels like not so long ago that I started a small grassroots organization to give back to my community. Now, ten years later, I’m fortunate to look back at the work we’ve been able to do, and the lives we’ve impacted with support from persons in the department and across campus (Josh Starmer, Grace Byfield, Katie Hoadley, Craig Fletcher, and Ralph Baric to name a few!), who have been willing to give their time and energy.”


If you are interested in volunteering with SOSA to support underrepresented students (elementary to undergraduates), please reach out to Dr. Smith.