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Monday, November 13, 2023
Headshot of new faculty member with text: Meet the Faculty Laura Liuzzo
photo of Laura coaching her daughter at a roller derby event

Laura and her daughter playing roller derby.

New Faculty Member Keen on Law, Justice and Roller Derby

By Mira Radovich, Senior Contributing Writer

Laura Liuzzo is bringing a well-rounded professional background to her new role as Rio Salado faculty chair for the Administration of Justice and Paralegal programs at Rio Salado College.

In 2022, Liuzzo retired from a law enforcement career spanning almost 30 years.

“I pursued this career because I am passionate about making a difference in my community and helping people,” Liuzzo said. “I was fortunate enough to work for three different departments which resulted in a well-rounded career and perspective, not just in law enforcement, but in government, law, and politics.”

It also sparked a life-long interest in education.

“When my children were young, I became very interested in how public education serves the needs of learners with neurodiversity,” Liuzzo said. “I became an advocate for underserved learners with unique cognitive abilities and needs.”

Liuzzo took that passion to the next level by serving as a non-profit board member, speaking at the state capitol to advocate for educational funding, and volunteering in the classroom.

After earning a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, one of Liuzzo’s mentors encouraged her to consider teaching law enforcement courses. She was hired as an adjunct instructor at Rio Salado College, working for the Administration of Justice and Paralegal faculty chair Angela Kwan.

Liuzzo, who also has a J.D. in law, eventually became an adjunct instructor at Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona (UA) teaching administration of justice, research and writing, government and legal courses. 

She was working as a full-time assistant professor at UA when she learned that Kwan would be retiring.

“It was bittersweet because Angela had been an incredible and supportive supervisor and had done an amazing job building Rio’s justice and paralegal programs,” Liuzzo said.

After encouragement from her university peers, Liuzzo applied and was selected to be Kwan’s successor.

“I knew going into the process that I already loved the culture at Rio Salado College,” Liuzzo said. “I am excited for the opportunity to continue to develop the new 4-year bachelor’s degree program in the public safety administration.”

Her current goals concern student success through engagement and communication.

“One of my personal goals is to share my passion for student engagement and success through inclusivity practices,” she said. “My advice for online learners is to establish a positive relationship with your instructors through communication.”

When she is not teaching or engaging in educational activities, Liuzzo enjoys spending time with friends and family, as well as camping, hunting and traveling.

“Something that many people do not know about me is that I can work roller derby into almost any conversation,” Liuzzo said. “I have played roller derby for many years and have traveled around the country for tournaments.”

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