Minna Kellomäki, University of Tampere
"Believe in yourself. Ask if you don't know. There is no such thing as an stupid question".
What have you studied and how did you choose this option?
I started my studies at what was then Tampere University of Technology. When I started, I thought I would focus on economics, but I was drawn to engineering subjects. I graduated as a mechanical engineer, but with a very strong focus on materials engineering. My thesis was a materials engineering research project for industry on company developments that the university had strong expertise in implementing.
Since my graduation I have been working on biomaterials research. I ended up doing research partly because the recession started when I graduated and industry was not doing very well. On the other hand, it was at that point that I got a research position on a fixed-term project and found that I liked being a researcher. Before doing my PhD, I worked for a year at Queen Mary University of London. I did my PhD in biomaterials research at Tampere University of Technology. Biomaterials were interesting and there was a strong team in Tampere to research and develop them.
How did you become a professor and a scientist?
I ended up as a researcher and scientist because it inspired me. I had an open professorship and I managed to get it. Being a professor is a natural progression in a researcher's career.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is the interdisciplinary nature of it, working at the interface of different skills. Discovering new things and taking them forward is also close to my heart. It allows me to be creative. It's nice to be able to succeed in doing something that is considered difficult or impossible from the outset.
What are your plans and goals for the future?
I believe I will pursue a career in academia. I hope to obtain competitive funding for my research group, and thus be able to continue my research.
What greetings would you like to send to a young woman considering a career?
Believe in yourself. Ask if you don't know. There is no such thing as an stupid question. Question the claims of others - and your own. Be prepared to embrace new things and to change your opinions.
For whom is this a suitable career option?
The different areas of biomedical engineering, such as biomaterials, are suitable for anyone who is interested in combining both engineering and bio- or medical-related skills. An open mind and the ability to combine things in new ways are important qualities. You need to be accurate and careful in practical laboratory work.