College & Careers

Partnership Building As a Broadening Participation Strategy: Helping Researchers and Developers Bridge the Gaps in STEM Education

Fri, 04/29/2016


This brief examines the continued underrepresentation of African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds in STEM fields; explains the benefits of collaboration around broadening participation; and offers guidance on building partnerships as a strategy for bridging the gaps in STEM education.

Partnership building as a broadening participation strategy


9 pp.

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Mass Has New K-12 Standards for Digital Literacy, Computer Science

This article announces the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's unanimous approval of new digital literacy and computer science standards developed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education in collaboration with key EDC staff that lead the Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network (MassCAN) and with significant input from a Review Panel of educators and industry representatives that helped guide and inform the work. The author calls out one of EDC's exciting computer science education initiatives: "The department is also partnering with the Education Development Center, MassCAN's lead partner, on a $2.1 million, three-year National Science Foundation grant, intended to develop elementary curriculum units that integrate computational thinking in math and science classes. One feature of the new standards is that they're aligned with existing state standards in English language arts, science and math."



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Wed, 06/29/2016

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Elevating and Enhancing the “E” in STEM Education


Catherine McCulloch leads national initiatives focused on bridging STEM research and practice to improve outcomes for students. She is the co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) of Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE) and STEM Smart, and project director for EDC’s Interactive STEM R+P Collaboratory team. As co-PI of the Massachusetts Engineering and Innovation Dissemination Community initiative, she recently concluded a landscape analysis of K-12 engineering education in Massachusetts with PI Darryl Williams of Tufts University and EDC colleagues Tracy McMahon and Leslie Goodyear. A new report by the team, Engineering for Every K–12 Student, presents key findings from the study that have important implications not just for Mass. K–20 educators, policymakers, and business and industry leaders, but for all of those who are interested or involved in expanding access to engineering education nationwide. In this post, Catherine reflects on the status of engineering education and shares a few key takeaways from the report.

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A Learner-Centered Design Method for Educational Technology

Tue, 06/10/2014


Sarita Pillai, Kimberly Lucas, Alice Mello

Since 2003, EDC has implemented projects that work directly with middle school aged youth from underserved populations to develop digital resources aimed at encouraging young people to pursue STEM education and careers. It is through this work that EDC has developed and implemented a powerful, youth-centered participatory research and design method for the design of educational technologies.

Young girls working on computer




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New EDC Website Deepens Understanding of Infectious Diseases

Picture of ebola virus from new EDC Exploring Infectious Diseases website

Every 12 to 18 months, an outbreak of infectious disease erupts somewhere in the world. EDC’s new, free interactive Web resource, Exploring Infectious Diseases, tackles this challenge head-on by providing engaging, scientifically accurate materials to raise awareness of infectious diseases and guide informed decision-making during outbreaks and epidemics.

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Outstanding STEM Learning For All


Sarita Pillai leads initiatives to improve the quality and equity of STEM education, including managing national research and technical assistance centers, building and sustaining communities of practice to promote professional learning, and engaging youth in developing STEM-focused, technology-based resources. Sarita is the PI of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded STEM Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at EDC and co-PI of the NSF-funded Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL). In 2015, Sarita, STELAR co-PI Caroline Parker, Catherine McCulloch (co-PI of Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education—CADRE at EDC), and colleagues from SRI Education worked with the NSF and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to coordinate a daylong invitational forum on "next generation" STEM education. In this post, Sarita shares a few key points from EDC’s May 2016 report on the Forum, Next Generation STEM for All: Envisioning Advances Based on NSF Supported Research.

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Rebecca Schillaci

Email Rebecca Schillaci

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Rebecca Schillaci

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Rebecca Schillaci 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.

Schillaci is an evaluator for the Think College Transition (TCT) Model Project, an inclusive dual-enrollment model aimed at improving outcomes for students with intellectual disabilities enrolled in transition services by providing them with college experiences.

Schillaci is also a team member of the NSF-funded STEM Learning and Research (STELAR) Center, the resource center for the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program. Through her work on webinars and as a project liaison, 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.

Previously, Schillaci served as an evaluator of an algebra curriculum in use in Connecticut (read a blog post describing the findings) and was a researcher in an NSF ITEST-funded-study of the effectiveness of technology-focused professional development. She is a co-author of an article that presents the results of that study, “Examining the Quality of Technology Implementation in STEM Classrooms: Demonstration of an Evaluative Framework” (Journal of Research on Technology in Education).

Before joining EDC, Schillaci was manager of the Child Cognition Laboratory at Boston University, where she contributed to the development, design, execution, and dissemination of several grant-funded research projects examining a broad range of topics including science learning, artifact categorization, teleological reasoning, and imitative learning in children and adults. She is coauthor on several publications based on this research, including “Children’s Conformity When Acquiring Novel Conventions: The Case of Artifacts” (Journal of Cognition and Development), “The Designing Mind: Children’s Reasoning about Intended Function and Artifact Structure” (Journal of Cognition and Development), and “Young Children Can be Taught Natural Selection Using a Picture-Storybook Intervention” (Psychological Science).

Schillaci received a BA in Psychology from Wellesley College and an MA in Developmental Science from Boston University.


Staff Profile

Job title: 

Research Associate


Leadership for Learning Innovation

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313




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