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Humans of the U: Annabella Pizzuto-Ward

“I wanted to come to the University of Utah because I loved the idea of living in Salt Lake City. It’s such a fun community and many of my passions are centered around advocacy and social justice. Salt Lake City provides a great opportunity to study topics like that.

Right now I work for the Center for Campus Wellness as a harm reduction advocate. I give workshops for students about safer partying and drug policies and how they affect our communities. Sometimes we work with the Salt Lake Harm Reduction Project and other places in our community. Being at the U is really cool because we’re able to not only connect with resources on campus but also resources in the larger community.

I am majoring in criminology and political science. When I first started at the U, I was just majoring in criminology, and I was unsure what I wanted to do with my degree. Because of the opportunities I have had at the U, I have refined my pathway.  

Every fall and spring break, the Bennion Center for Community Engagement at the U hosts Alternative Breaks that provide opportunities for justice work and experiential learning. My second year of school I was lucky enough to go on a trip where we studied substance use in California. This played an important role in helping me decide what I want to do with my career. 

I would not have found the work I am passionate about without the resources we have at the U.

Now I’m very interested in legal policy and drug advocacy work and things like that. And I honestly never thought that was the career pathway I was going to take. After I graduate, I’m hoping either to go to law school or work as a harm reduction specialist somewhere in the community.”

— Annabella Pizzuto-Ward, a third-year student from Utah County studying criminology and political science