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Venika Jani, a student at Gems Founders School, Al Barsha, is passionate about psychology and aspires to be an industrial psychologist. ‘‘I am also interested in economics and business, specifically social enterprise,’’ she says. She attended a UCLA summer program on social entrepreneurship where she and her team created a website prototype for a sustainable clothing outlet. ‘‘As part of the program, I conducted surveys to collect real-life data.’’

Venika Jani

Passionate about sustainability, particularly in the fashion industry, she wrote articles and helped develop content and marketing strategies while an intern at Goshopia, a brand that promotes sustainable and ethically driven choices. Venika also volunteered at Thrift For Good, supporting the non-profit in their projects, and contributing to community well-being, such as providing shelter for children in Malawi.

Currently, as chairperson of her school’s sustainability council, she coordinates the council’s targets with the school’s agenda, such as integrating sustainability into regular teaching and educating the school community through various eco-friendly initiatives. ‘‘To do so, I am organizing events like desert clean-ups and recycling drives in order to engage the school community.’’

Excerpts from an interview:

Who or what got you interested in psychology?

My extracurricular activities and volunteering experiences are all philanthropic and altruistic activities that involve me understanding others’ perspectives and supporting them to express their individuality. Serving others and being of assistance whenever I can give me the most joy and satisfaction. My volunteering experience in India played a significant role in influencing and enriching my interest in psychology as I developed special bonds with the children, and this allowed me to comprehend how they perceived the world. My high school psychology teacher, Miss Terri, also got me interested in psychology as a career. Her teachings and personal and academic experiences in psychology captivated me.

Why do you plan to pursue a career as an industrial psychologist?

Pursuing a career as an industrial psychologist allows me to combine both my passions: psychology and economics/business. I’ll be able to apply psychology to the corporate world by studying and assessing organizational dynamics in the workplace while helping and motivating employees.

Have you undertaken any extra projects/programs related to psychology?

Yes I have. The most significant experience was volunteering at a rehab center and special classes for challenged children. This was during this summer in India, at POSAT Foundation (Physio Occupational Speech Academy of Therapist). I worked with children suffering from autism, ADHD, Learning Disability, Down’s Syndrome and other abnormalities. I was guided to help the children with therapeutic activities that contributed to their motor and cognitive skills development in the form of games, art and crafts. Alongside building special relations with the children, I was able to gain hands-on experience in the field of psychology whilst giving back to the community.

I have also participated in The Young Psychologist Summer Experience, involving myself in different immersive experiences from specialist fields in psychology while collaborating with others to evaluate and analyze various case studies.

Three important pieces of advice your mentors gave you?

My biggest mentor and idol has been my grandmother, a strong and confident woman who priortortizes her family’s well-being. She taught me to always stand up for myself and to never tolerate any wrongdoings against myself or the people around me.

My parents are my other mentors; they allowed me to express my individuality and fed my interests, giving me a chance to grow and priortize my calling. My dad advised me to always focus on one thing at a time and give 100% to it. My mom taught me to be compassionate towards everyone and treat them equally.

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