The Power of a Story

University of Southern California (USC) is evaluating curriculum written by SVC Director of College & Career Guidance Jamie MacIntosh for one of its graduate programs.  Ms. MacIntosh developed the curriculum while working toward her Master of Education (MAED) degree.  

In 2013, Ms. MacIntosh was introduced to the USC Shoah Foundation, the Institute for Visual History and Education. This organization is “dedicated to making audio-visual interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides a compelling voice for education and action.” (USC Shoah Foundation.)1  Understanding the power of a personal story, Shoah has collected over 55,000 video testimonies to keep the important lessons learned from human genocide alive.

Ms. MacIntosh, who has also taught High School history at SVC, was introduced to the Shoah Foundation by a fellow SVC history teacher.  She began attending lectures, seminars, and professional development programs through the Shoah Foundation and, in the process, developed a deep appreciation for the power of personal testimonies. Over time, that appreciation grew into a passion. So when it came time to write her Master’s thesis, Mrs. MacIntosh chose as her subject “The Use of First-person Narratives on Student Engagement and Effectiveness in the Classroom.”

“The study of history is greater than the telling of a story or a memorization of past events,” said Ms. MacIntosh.  “History tells of how the past impacts the present, and in turn, the future. World events increasingly demand informed, engaged problem-solvers – knowledge and skills found in the teaching of history. First-person narratives provide primary source material, written or told by real people dealing with complex issues and problems in their times. They provide a unique capacity to engage students in the study of the past.”

The curriculum is under review by USC for use in its Masters of Education (MAED) program.

“We are justifiably proud of Jamie and her exemplary work in preparing educators to bring effective instruction in areas of such profound importance,” said Rod Markum, SVC High School Principal. “She brings that same level of excellence into her classroom and to our office of College & Career Guidance.”

To learn more about the significant work being done by USC’s Shoah Foundation, visit


1“USC Shoah Foundation.” USC Shoah Foundation. N.p., 07 June 2017. Web. 05 June 2017.


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