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Making a difference for students at home and in the nation

Andrea Palmisano at the Virginia Beach Campus.

Psychology Professor Andrea Palmisano has been teaching at TCC since 2010. When she is not in the classroom, Palmisano serves as a general and family mediator with the Supreme Court of Virginia.

She also has her own mediation business. In May, Palmisano will help the Tangipahoa Parish School System which is under a desegregation order by the U.S. Eastern District Court of Louisiana. 

Palmisano has created an eight-hour peer mediation program for high school students. The goal is to provide students with the opportunity to become proficient in conflict resolution skills.

“We hope to reduce the number of fights and create harmony in the school,” she said. “It’s about helping students develop leadership skills and motivating them to succeed.”

During mediation at the parish school, Palmisano will present students with concrete steps to resolve conflicts. By working with a team on-site, she will help them find solutions for their problems. The final step will be to draft a binding document for those who are working to resolve a specific conflict.

“I’ve implemented a similar program at Granby High School and saw the number of fights decrease pretty dramatically,” she added. “We know this approach works, but it requires the adults there to believe in the program and then nurture it.”

Palmisano will provide the training and then stay connected as the program unfolds. “When developing a new culture, one of conflict resolution, you have to stay in close contact and be there for the students, parents and staff,” she said. “That’s what I’ve signed up to do.”

Professor Palmisano with TCC student Cecilia Cruz.

A beloved faculty member, Palmisano gets top marks – a 5 out of 5 – on In addition, 100% of her students would take her classes again.

“I care about my students’ education and their personal well-being,” Palmisano said. “I learn every student’s name and I listen. They know my classroom is a judgment-free zone so they can talk and share freely.”

A native of Brazil, Palmisano came to the United States when she was in high school because of her father’s job. “I spent my high school years in three different countries. I know what it feels like not to belong and that shaped my interest in helping people,” she said.

Palmisano is the faculty advisor of the TCC student psychology club, Psi-Chi-Phi, which meets every other week. To learn more, check them out on Instagram @tcc_psichiphi.

Palmisano holds a Ph.D. in psychology, a master’s in clinical psychology and has professional experience working as a therapist for children with emotional and behavioral issues. She has also been the director of children’s programs for a non-profit mediation organization.

In her free time, Palmisano enjoys Salsa dancing and outdoor activities with her husband, Dr. David Palmisano. The couple has two sons, Tiago, 27, and Matias, 24. Both sons are in medical school. Tiago and his wife Raygan recently welcomed Lucas James, the family’s first grandchild.