The STEM Learning and Research Center (STELAR) is funded by the NSF ITEST Program and led by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC).  EDC’s mission is to design, implement, and evaluate programs to improve education, health, and economic opportunity worldwide. Collaborating with public and private partners, we strive for a world where all people are empowered to live healthy, productive lives. EDC conducts 250 projects in 30 countries around the world. EDC is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. Most fundamentally, this means that no profit accrues to any individual. Our work is supported through grants and contracts from a variety of sources, including U.S. and foreign government agencies, private foundations, nonprofit organizations, universities, and corporations. Goodman Research Group, Inc. (GRG), serves as STELAR's external evaluator, offering insights into how better to do our work and reach our goals.


Sarita Pillai, Principal Investigator, is Managing Project Director at EDC. She has extensive expertise in managing national resource centers, providing technical assistance, building and sustaining communities of practice, and developing powerful technology-based resources.  With her colleagues, Pillai has designed successful participatory design approaches to engaging underrepresented youth in STEM learning and future careers by placing them at the center of design and development efforts. She is coauthor of a book on gender and equity in education, More Than Title IX: How Equity in Education Has Shaped the Nation (2009).  She received a BS in computer science from Northeastern University and an MBA from Bentley University.

Joyce Malyn-Smith

Joyce Malyn-Smith, Senior Advisor, is a national expert on STEM career and workforce development with a deep knowledge of how learners develop skills in formal and informal settings to prepare for productive and rewarding careers. She has a special interest in the Future of Work, the dispositions needed for success at the Human Technology Frontier, and how technology and informal learning can spark creativity, cultivate and sustain interest in STEM careers. She received a BS from Universidad Interamericana in Puerto Rico, an MEd from Boston State Teacher’s College, and an EdD in Bilingual Education Leadership and Career Education from Boston University, where she was a U.S. Department of Education Fellow.

Sarah MacGillivray

Sarah MacGillivray, Project Staff, has been a member of the STELAR team since 2014. In her work with STELAR she has provided TA to projects, facilitated webinars, and focused on designing effective communications and dissemination strategies for the center. Across projects at EDC, her work is centered on equity, diversity, inclusion and access, and in preparing youth for success in the future workforce.

Kissy Canela

Kissy Canela, Project Staff, is a Project Coordinator at EDC. Kissy is a communications professional with over five years’ experience coordinating marketing projects and spearheading communications initiatives. In her current role, Kissy helps run STELAR’s social media channels and newsletter. She is passionate about marketing and is excited to bring and expand her knowledge of analytics to magnify the reach of ITEST projects and STELAR as a resource center. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.

Melody Hachey

Melody Hachey, Project Staff, is a Technology Associate at EDC. She has worked at EDC for 13+ years on several grant-funded, tuition-funded, private-funded, and for-profit projects. Melody helps the team make key decisions about the STELAR website and assists with a wide range of tasks, including website maintenance, development of new website features, video editing, and design work.

Goodman Research Group, Inc. (GRG), External Evaluator, is a research firm located in Cambridge, MA specializing in evaluating educational programs, materials, and services for groups ranging from museums to public television to formal and informal educators, to NASA missions. Their expertise extends to all areas of evaluation and research, including feasibility studies and needs assessments, formative research, process evaluation, outcome evaluation, and summative evaluation, as well as related services such as consultation and workshops.