The USF College of Education and the David C. Anchin Center welcome Justice Palavra
as the new Associate Director of the Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement
(MESA) program. 

As the Associate Director of MESA, Palavra will oversee the advancement of the MESA
program in the Suncoast Area School Districts. The MESA program focuses on increasing
underrepresented students’ participation in STEM education and career pathways.  Currently,
the only MESA chapter in Florida is with the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
Campus, working with Pinellas County Schools. The plan is to extend the program to
other Tampa Bay school districts.

Palavra is passionate about providing equitable opportunities for students to innovate
and pursue STEM education and career pathways. As a middle and high school science
teacher and a district leader, she has worked closely with students, teachers, and
parents to increase accessibility to STEM opportunities and learning for all students.
 She has been heavily involved in multicultural educational programming and mentoring,
helping first-generation students acclimate and connect to resources to succeed when
transitioning to college and developing an understanding of their cultural identities
and belonging. These educational programs included highlighting the contributions
and innovation of minorities, discussing of controversial topics within cultural communities,
and celebrating diversity and inclusivity. 

Holding a Master’s Degree of Science in STEM Education, Palavra is currently working
on her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in Science Education. A life-long learner,
Justice will continue to advocate for equity, innovation, and STEM education.

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