43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313
Sarita Pillai, an expert in effective strategies to broaden students' participation in STEM learning and careers, leads national resource centers that advance innovative R&D and deepen understanding of effective strategies to enhance the quality and equity of STEM education. She specializes in forming and sustaining strong communities of practice focused on improving STEM education and designing powerful technology-based resources that help engage and interest youth in STEM.
Pillai is the Principal Investigator of the NSF's STEM Learning and Research Center at EDC, which deepens the impact of the national ITEST program through technical support, dissemination, and outreach to better prepare a diverse, skilled, and innovative STEM workforce. She is the co-PI of the Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL), and she is the co-PI of an NSF-funded initiative to lead a four day workshop at EDC headquarters in Waltham, Mass. that will engage renown researchers, K-12 educators, and disciplinary scientists in identifying effective strategies to support K-12 students’ computational thinking.
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 drew upon this approach to collaborate with middle schoolers to develop a series of math and science virtual learning experiences as part of the Middle School Portal project. She also used the approach to partner with teenage girls, who served as primary content producers for a series of Web-based videos on science and engineering careers (Girls Communicating Career Connections) and to facilitate the design of the youth-developed FunWorks science career exploration digital library. (Read a 2016 blog post by Pillai.)
Pillai is the coauthor of the report Next Generation STEM Learning For All (2016), the coauthor of a book on gender and equity in education, More Than Title IX: How Equity in Education Has Shaped the Nation (2009), and the coauthor of the chapter "Equity and Diversity" in the report Preparing Tomorrow's STEM Workforce Through Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers. She regularly presents her work at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, the Massachusetts STEM Summit, and the National Science Teachers Association.
Before joining EDC, Pillai held various positions in software development, marketing, and business development.
She received a BS in computer science from Northeastern University and an MBA from Bentley University.