Kelly Pijl, Communications and Policy Director

Kelly Pijl oversees strategic communications and legislative outreach for the Children and Families Commission. She also directs the Commission’s Early Learning goal area that includes school readiness, early literacy, and math programs. Kelly began working for the Commission at its inception in 2000. She was formerly the strategic affairs manager for the County of Orange Executive Office. She earned a Master of Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications/Public Relations from California State University, Fullerton.

What excites you most about STEM Education?

STEM Education is transcending all barriers including age and gender. Very young children are smart and capable to learn basic STEM concepts and language, which is foundational for more complex learning as they grow. It’s exciting to hear a preschooler explain that the shape of a stop sign is, in fact, an “octagon” … cheeky!

What are your hopes for the future of STEM Education?

I LOVE that STEM education has become more mainstream and it’s now cool to be nerdy! I recently saw a hip young woman proudly wearing a t-shirt that said “Nerdy by Nature.” I hope that more students will pursue STEM related classes and careers, and build a home-grown work force in Orange County.

What are your current and/or past experiences with STEM Education – are there  any highlights you would want people to know about the work the Orange County Children and Families Commission is doing at this time?

The Children and Families Commission of Orange County is proud of our partnership with the OC STEM Initiative, which has supported the Early Childhood STEM Symposium for more than 400 early childhood educators and administrators. This annual symposium has significantly strengthened the confidence of early educators to implement STEM learning in their classrooms. I am looking forward to the 2017 symposium on March 18 and the key note address by astronaut Leland Melvin. The symposium is not limited to early educators, everyone is invited!