The Global STEM Education Center

Eric Heller, Ed.D
​The Deputy Director of the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute

Eric Heller is the Deputy Director of the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, responsible for overseeing the Institute's infrastructure and supporting the successful operations of the Institute's numerous business groups. Eric first joined the Donahue Institute in 1985, when he helped launch its Applied Research and Program Evaluation Group. As the group's director from 1988 through 2011, he was instrumental in developing its approach to client-responsive, applied social science research and program evaluation and continually expanding its capacity to serve the needs of the Institute's diverse clientele. Working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Eric developed and managed the evaluations of key STEM education initiatives, including the state's early systemic reform initiative (PALMS), the Math Science Partnership, and the STEM Pipeline. In his current role, he helps lead the team responsible for organizing the state's annual STEM Summit. Prior to joining the Donahue Institute, he served as Associate Director of the Perach Tutorial program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Similar to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Perach fostered mentoring relationships between university students and elementary school children living in under-served communities. Eric received his Ed.D. and M.Ed. in educational policy, research and administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He earned his B.A. in education and sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Marie Tada
NASA Einstein Fellow, 2010-2012, K12 teacher

Marie Gleason-Tada has extensive experience as an educator in both the United States and overseas. Shespent over 20 years as a classroom teacher and Technology Integration Specialist/Technology Coordinator at international schools in Japan that incorporated elements of both the American and British education systems. When computers entered schools in the 1980s, Gleason-Tada earned an advanced degree in Instructional Technology and moved from the classroom to establishing programs for technology integration across the K-12 curriculum at the international school. Since 1996 she has pursued that role in the Massachusetts public schools, working with middle school teachers in all subject areas as they plan for ways to use technology in their lessons.In 1994 Gleason-Tada received a grant from the Japanese Government that provided internet access to her international school in Tokyo. As an early web pioneer, she integrated internet resources into the curriculum through web publishing and telecommunications projects (such as the National Geographic Kids Network and the AT&T Learning Network). Her students went on to win an internationally recognized award for their web based CyberFair entry portraying life in Tokyo from the eyes of international high school students. Gleason-Tada also worked with Mitre Corporation on the introduction of NASA’s EarthKAM initiative which allowed eighth grade students to request photos be taken from the International Space Station as part of their Earth Science investigations. Marie received a Research Experience for Teachers supplement for an interdisciplinary National Science Foundation project at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell entitled “Performamatics” that explores the intersection of computers and music. She has presented at the Christa McAuliffe and NSTA conferences and worked on teacher/student involvement in NASA’s Centennial Challenge Robotics Competition at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). She is a member if ISTE, MassCUE, and ASCD.Gleason-Tada has earned a M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell; a M.A. in Educational Administration from California State University, Northridge; and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Instructional Technology from Lesley University.During her National Science Foundation Research Experience for Teachers grant, Marie learned about the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship. She felt that the opportunity to combine research with actual work in a government agency for nearly a year would be an enormously interesting and exciting experience. She was fortunate to be chosen to work with NASA Headquarters Office of Education for the 2011-12 Fellowship year. Her work with NASA has given her unique insights into resources offered by government agencies to K-12 teachers and students and has further stimulated her desire to promote STEM education in our schools.Marie Gleason-Tada has taught at all grade levels and believes that educators have formative influence on students’ present and future. Her work as Technology Integration Specialist has focused on channeling students and teachers into uses of technology that promote learning while engaging students in lessons and activities that promote higher order thinking skills. She believes that current technology gives educators extraordinary opportunities to engage students in valuable global initiatives – such as the projects advanced by the Global STEM Education Center.

Dr. Charlie Pellerin
"How NASA Build teams"
CEO and Founder, 4D Systems


Dr. Charlie Pellerin led NASA's astrophysics program worth over $8B for a decade, launching 12 satellites. In 1990, the world discovered that NASA's crown jewel, the Hubble Space Telescope was useless because of a flawed mirror – jeopardising the USD $1.7 Billion program. Charlie mounted the space repair mission that fixed the telescope and NASA awarded him a second Outstanding Leadership Medal. He was curious however about leadership's role in Hubble's mishap. Post-NASA, Charlie joined the University of Colorado teaching 21st century leadership. Inspired by the difference he'd made in his classes the CEOs of Pepsi, Exabyte, and the Area Managing Partner for Ernst & Young asked him to “bring his class into their companies”. Charlie founded 4-D Systems to help clients build high performance leaders and teams. NASA engaged 4-D Systems in 2003 to help with team performance and risks. Charlie's team made a remarkable discovery – the 15 min team development assessments boosted team performance 5% each time! Charlie shared this finding by writing the best selling How NASA Builds Teams (Wiley, 2009). As a result of this work his 4-D coaches won the International Coach Federation's 2007 Prism Award for “enhanced excellence and business achievement with documented return on investment.”
​Professor John Hodgman
The Entrepreneurial Leadership Program faculty Emeritus, Tufts University

John Hodgman: A valued member of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program faculty, Hodgman has taught entrepreneurship courses at Tufts since 1997. In addition to teaching Entrepreneurship & Business Planning Hodgman serves as a mentor to students seeking to launch new ventures. Hodgman's appointment is part of Tufts Gordon Institute's evolving faculty model to attract individuals with industry experience into the classroom. Previously, Hodgman served as President and CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation (MTDC), where he established the corporation's reputation as a leading edge venture capital firm. Prior to his 17 years leading MTDC, Hodgman worked with entrepreneurs of early-stage technology companies and held various executive roles including: President and CEO of Stewart Systems Corporation, a computer software company; CEO of the Massachusetts Security Agency (now the department of employment and training); and Director of Personnel Management for the New England Group of Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP). Hodgman was also the Howard Foley professor for High Tech Workforce Development at University of Massachusetts-Lowell's School of Engineering from 2002 to 2010 where he focused on a statewide initiative to encourage more students to major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In 2010, he was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to the newly established STEM Advisory Council.
Donna Sroka, M. Ed, Certified Education Technology Leader

Donna Sroka has been a Technology Director in school districts in Massachusetts for over 14 years. She piloted Global STEM in vocational high classrooms with academic schools in Russia. Together with educators and NASA and automotive engineers she taught collaboration and communication skills within various cultures currently needed in working with todays’ companies. Donna is a Certified Education Technology Leader and holds a Masters Degree in Education.



Amanda Nelson
GTEC Parent's Committee

“The pathway to a better life is education. Most parents care about their children’s education and hope that their schools are meeting their needs. They also realize that the world is a different place compared to when they were students. Computer technology has had a tremendous impact on society in education, business, communication and even our personal lives. This impact translates into needing additional skills for a competitive world job market. There’s more to school than just learning facts these days. The future design of educational environments is digital in nature and global in scope. Students spend hours using electronic devices each day, both at home and at school. Therefore, information literacy is paramount for success in today’s world and should be a mandatory addition to curriculum. Critical, analytical, and independent thinking are crucial skills more than ever today for students to acquire as they head into a global environment. Recent data shows that many students who are leaving school at all levels lack any specific practical experience; lack any specific career training; lack a sense of ethical and professional conduct; and lack the ability to communicate effectively in both oral and written form.GTEC (Global, Technology and Engineering Consortium) is a very unique, innovative program that is essentially designed to meet the needs of a 21st century learner and to fill in the gaps where traditional classrooms are failing. Mastering skills that are imperative to survive in the competitive nature of today’s global workforce is at the crux.  With GTEC, students are given the opportunity to create, collaborate and communicate across media-rich networks and systems. The learning is student-centered; they lead with their own initiatives and entrepreneurships skills. They are ultimately responsible for accessing and analyzing information. It also allows their curiosity and imagination to lead the way.GTEC fuses learning with work and recreation. The learning is not boring or unexciting.  The interactivity and connectivity are qualities that make the learning interesting and meaningful. Students learn how to innovate by setting goals and using talents and creativity to follow their interests.  GTEC’s collaborative slant also prepares students for the actualities of their future work environment. It is a vital link between realistic preparation and the national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) initiative which has been in the news so much recently.”

Advisory Board


Dominique Haughton, Ph.D
COO & Chairman of the DOME Foundation Board (2011-2013)
Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Bentley University

Dominique Haughton, PhD is Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Bentley in Waltham, Massachusetts, near Boston, and Affiliated Researcher at the Toulouse School of Economics in Toulouse, France. Major areas of interest are applied statistics, statistics and marketing, the analysis of living standards surveys, data mining, and model selection. Currently researching multilevel models and living standards in Vietnam, clustering methods, models of gambling expenditures and social networks, notably in Senegal. Editor-in-chief of Case Studies in Business, Industry and Government Statistics (CSBIGS). Co-editor of The Vietnamese Household: Explorations Using the Living Standards Measurement Survey (1992-1993) and Health and Wealth in Vietnam: An Analysis of Household Living Standards (1998). Over forty articles have appeared in journals such as The American Statistician, BizEd, Telecommunications Policy, Journal of Higher Education Management, Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, Journal of Interactive Marketing, Economic Development and Cultural Change, Studies in Family Planning, Journal of Population Economics, Journal of Biosocial Science, Annals of Statistics, Sankhya, Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation, Communications in Statistics, Statistica Sinica. Four current PhD students in Business Analytics.