15 July 2021

FPN Alumni Stories | Katrina Serpa | Master in Forensic Psychology

Katrina Serpa moved from Coral Springs, Florida, US, to Maastricht to combine her interests in criminology and psychology and study the Master in Forensic Psychology. She graduated in 2015 after completing the programme, including a 2nd year internship at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Forensic Mental Health in Africa

The lead editor Adegboyega Ogunwale is the chief consultant psychiatrist at the Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Nigeria and is one of the country’s mental health thought leaders. Due to Serpa’s background in forensic psychology, Singh and Ogunwale saw Serpa’s expertise as a good match for the book. As an early career professional, the chance to collaborate on a book was an amazing opportunity for Serpa. Forensic Mental Health in Africa is in its early stages and not yet a big field of research on the continent. “Dr. Ogunwale noticed a lack of knowledge and tools in the field and wanted to create a handbook that could be used to give professionals the means to offer resources on evidence-based best practices.” Knowing that the ‘Western’ research was not always going to transfer directly to Africa, Ogunwale wanted to create a book that considers cultural differences when implementing Western-validated practices on the continent while establishing state-of-the-art assessment and treatment of justice-involved persons in Africa. He gathered leading experts across Africa to start work on this handbook. And he was in need of another editor, preferably one with expertise on risk assessment: enter Katrina Serpa.


“I’ve always been lucky to have great mentors, first Corine and then Jay. They had faith and took a chance on me”. Now after almost 3 years of production, and hard work, the Handbook of Forensic Mental Health in Africa has been published. Marking Serpa’s first book.

“The guidance I received throughout my graduate studies truly set me on a path that allowed for opportunities like this to be possible for me. And I am forever grateful. I’m always looking to make Maastricht proud!”