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Sunday, June 25 2017 @ 11:36 PM AST

T&T national earns perfect score in forensic psychology

A Trinidad & Tobago national has scored a perfect 4.0 grade point average (GPA) in forensic psychology at John Jay’s College in New York City, an e-mail from her sister, Verena, said Thursday. Verena is a former Synergy TV presenter.

Venetia Siblal, 26, out of a graduating class of 3200, earned the Salutatorian award and the Elaine Noel Award for having an excellent record in forensic psychology. Venetia scored a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Prior to John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Venetia had received an associate of arts degree in liberal arts, social sciences and humanities at LaGuardia Community College.

At LaGuardia Community College, she graduated with honors, made the dean's list, was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and won first place in the college-wide research paper competition in 2011. The paper focused on the practice of stoning in Islamic countries adhering to Sharia law and highlighted the disproportionate use of the punishment against women.

Her passion for understanding people’s mental processes and behavior, as well as her desire to tackle crime in a sophisticated manner, has steered her to forensic psychology.

Venetia plans to help end violence against women and children by volunteering with organizations that help women live independent lives, free from violence; and that help children who have been abused or neglected.

"In the past I have encountered many obstacles that prevented me from continuing to get my bachelor of arts (BA) degree right after secondary school but as Carl Jung said, 'I am not what has happened to me; I am what I choose to become.' And I choose to become an educated woman who will fight for justice in her country and our global village," Venetia was quoted as saying in the e-mail.

"When I got the call informing me that I got the second highest GPA, making me salutatorian for the class of 2014, I did not know how to respond - partly, because it was the first time hearing the word salutatorian. I thought to myself, why am I not feeling a rush of excitement.

"To understand my 'abnormal' reaction to the wonderful news I had just received, I engaged in some good old fashioned introspection.

"I started to ask myself why didn't I feel this was possible? Why didn't I feel worthy? I did work extremely hard.

"I started to think of subjects like labeling perspective, stigmatization, systematic inequality, sexism, the effects of stereotypes, the intersecting effects of gender, class, and race, and how those notions may have influenced my identity.

"By exploring those topics, I reaffirmed that education was certainly vital in unmasking the roots of the toxic views one may have of one’s self. Likewise, education is vital for unmasking injustice everywhere."

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