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.

Clara McCurdy

Clara McCurdy-Kirlis, Project Staff, has 15+ years of experience in project development, implementation, and management in health and education fields at state, tribal, community, and international levels. As the lead of STELAR’s Community of Practice, she plans and delivers meetups and webinars with the ITEST community and other experts from STEM and education fields, creating a space for dialogue and connectivity. She has played lead roles in instructional design for adult learners, e-learning design and delivery, higher education curricula development, and interdisciplinary project coordination. In addition to supporting the ITEST projects, Clara also designs virtual and face-to-face training materials, creates tools, blogs, and one-pagers for dissemination, and supports the series of publications on the future of work. She is fluent in Spanish, Polish, Portuguese and English.

Brianna Roche

Brianna Roche, Project Staff, is a Research Associate at EDC. She has spent the last 10+ years working in research and evaluation on a wide range of projects; from large federally funded evaluations to small developmental evaluations at non-profits. She is passionate about data and discovery and has dedicated her career to improving program services through thoughtful analysis. Brianna is excited to bring her knowledge of survey design, data collection, and analysis to the STELAR team.

Becca Schillaci

Becca Schillaci, Project Staff, is a Research Associate at EDC. She is committed to conducting high-quality research of educational programs.  She contributes her expertise in research design, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, survey design, statistics, and data analysis to a wide range of studies.  Through her work with STELAR on webinars and as a project specialist, she provides technical support to ITEST projects and helps inform NSF and other stakeholders of ITEST’s impact by collecting and synthesizing data from those projects.

Carrie Parker

Carrie Parker, Co-PI, is Senior Research Scientist at EDC.  She has over a decade of experience leading studies that examine various aspects of educational equity. She has published on large-scale assessment and youth motivation in formal and informal education.  Parker is also serving as the PI of the Characteristics and Academic Outcomes of English Language Learners in a New England District study and was recently the PI of an evaluation of Connecticut’s Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Algebra I Curriculum. Parker has previously led two NSF-funded studies and has authored several publications on STEM education programs for teachers and youth.  She received a BA in English literature from Williams College, an MEd from Framingham State College, and EdM and EdD degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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.