Savannah Bernardo



Everything that I know about writing starts with passion. If there is no fire behind the words you are writing, then why are you writing at all? As I began to search for the topic of my story, I knew it had to be something I cared about.

On Oct. 1, 2017, there was a mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas. Concurrently in my course, Family Health in Communication, we were reading on the topic of mental illness. Over the many different news sources that I read about the shooting, so many articles tried to link the shooter to having a mental illness. This idea instilled a stigma into so many people’s minds that because someone has a mental illness, they could be the reason behind a catastrophic event such as this.

This is where my new passion began.

My initial search of people to interview started with the thought that I needed to educate myself on the topic. And who better than some of the experts in the field, who work with people diagnosed with a mental illness every day. Once I became more educated on the topic I needed to find the reason why people would care.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Bob Woodward, who spoke at the University of Utah in November 2017,  discussed the importance of “plugging into people’s red hot center.” And that was exactly my goal. Within most of my interviews, I was able to locate that red hot center through questions that were difficult to even ask, let alone for my interviewees to answer.  

Although I chose a topic that is more sensitive than most, I learned so much throughout each part of the process. I must have listened to each of my recorded interviews about a dozen times. Then I would start dissecting each one to get exactly what I needed from it to start writing. Just to listen to them another dozen times, and rewrite what I had already written. This process was relentless, but completely necessary to get the right story out.  

The main thing that I really took from this class was that no matter what you’re writing about, you have to find that passion. If there is no fire behind the words you’re writing, you won’t give readers a reason to care. Although interviewing people may be difficult, if you show that you care through your questions, you’ll be able to plug into their red hot center. By doing this, you will get the answers you need, and most importantly — your story will mean something.


Savannah moved to Salt Lake City in 2015 with a goal to finish her bachelor’s degree at a university. She was born and raised in San Jose, California, and although she was comfortable living in beautiful weather and close to family, she knew that she had to leave home to figure out life for herself.

Savannah began playing softball when she was 10, and made it her passion for the next 11 years. She played year-round on competitive traveling teams, and loved every second of it. But softball was more than just an outlet, it taught her many life lessons that she still incorporates in her life today.

Staying busy has always been a lifestyle for Savannah. Excelling in school, while working multiple jobs and playing collegiate softball all at the same time, allowed her to figure out the kind of person she is — busy.

Although playing softball at a four-year college didn’t end up being in Savannah’s future, finishing school at the University of Utah is.

Attending junior college allowed Savannah to save a lot of money when it came to school. However, transferring to the U this semester, has been the greatest experience she has been a part of since her move to Utah.

Savannah expects to graduate in December 2018, with a Bachelor of Science in Communication with an emphasis in strategic communication. She is not completely sure of what career path she will take after achieving her degree, but has a few ideas in mind.

Her passion for sports and what it can do for a person’s life has always struck her interest. Being able to have a career that involves constantly staying busy, as well as incorporating her passion of sports (sports journalism?), is the next goal she is striving to accomplish.