Story #42: Meg Palisoc
It was through JEP that Dr. Meg Palisoc discovered her love of education.
Palisoc, a teacher, educational consultant, and former school principal, first got involved with JEP through a mini course for her developmental psychology class. After stepping into her kindergarten classroom for the first time, she immediately felt embraced.
“I remember going in there and the kids were so cute and so loving. And the kindergarten teacher was a veteran teacher who was so calm and compassionate and I really loved it.” she says. “I remember this one little kid would come up to me and for some reason, he would call me ‘snow cone.’”
Her “snow cone” nickname is one of Palisoc’s many fond memories at JEP. After teaching kindergarten, her next assignment was teaching social justice curriculum to middle school students.
As a child, Palisoc knew she had a calling to serve others and often looked up to great historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. or Mother Teresa. When she got to teach students about the lives and work of these heroes, she felt that it truly was a full-circle moment.
“I participated in JEP because I’ve always loved helping people growing up…So when I learned about JEP, that just automatically gravitated towards my personality of loving to help others.” she says. “We had a curriculum about…famous historical people in history and how they changed the world…That was the lesson that spoke to my heart.”
After finishing her undergrad, Palisoc went on to receive both her masters and doctorate in education from USC. She and her husband then went on to found Synergy Academies; three non-profit charter schools located in the Los Angeles area. The schools are free and are STEM-focused, empowering students to pursue a college degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
“My experience of being at USC, being at JEP was always about problem solving. Always have an eye of wanting to be a servant leader, and wanting to help solve problems.” she says. “We now have college graduates from our schools who have gone to USC and have graduates themselves. So it’s just amazing to see the full circle of being able to give and make a difference in people’s lives that way.”
Despite participating in JEP years ago, she still maintains a strong connection to the program. Just recently, she volunteered at Day of SCervice to build STEM kits for our STEM Education programs. It’s clear that the spirit of service JEP instilled in her continues, even today.
“I think there’s so much power in being able to work together with our neighbors and with our communities and really understand different communities. That’s what I love about JEP.” she added.