A woman from the Shropshire border who almost left school at 16 has become one of Britain’s youngest professors in psychology.
Former Llanfyllin High School student Theresa Gannon is already recognised as a leading authority in forensic psychology. Today she paid tribute to the school’s former headmaster for encouraging her to continue her education. Now, at 35, she has been promoted to professor by the University of Kent.
Professor Gannon has written more than 100 book chapters and journals and edited books on the topics of male and female sexual offending, arson, violence, and rehabilitation.
She also works to rehabilitate convicted sexual offenders and arsonists in hospitals and prisons on a weekly basis.
She is director of the university’s centre of research and education in forensic psychology. Her parents still live in Bwlch-y-Cibau.
The professor’s promotion comes after a successful research project she led for the Ministry of Justice.
It was a two-year evaluation of a pilot scheme involving the use of polygraph testing to increase disclosures made by sex offenders to probation staff. The findings also prompted the government to consider introducing compulsory polygraph tests for sexual offenders in the UK.
“I think that this makes me one of the UK’s youngest professors in psychology and confirms to me that hard work is rewarded,” she said.
Professor Gannon cited her former headmaster, Dr Dafydd Leighton OBE, as a major influence on her career success.
She said: “My enthusiastic psychology teacher Lorraine Young also played an important role in exciting me about psychology.”
By Sue Austin