What have you studied and how did you choose this option?
I have graduated with a Master's degree in Philosophy from the Mathematics Education program at the University of Oulu, with extensive minors in Statistics and Computer Science. I became interested in mathematics and computer science in upper secondary school. My interest was further strengthened in high school, and it was natural for me to pursue studies in mathematics.
How did you become a researcher?
I had the opportunity to write my Master’s thesis while working in the Robotics research group of Biomimetics and Intelligent Systems (BISG). It was an amazing feeling to apply the methods learned during my studies in practice. While writing my thesis, my interest in a research career was ignited. Initially, I continued with the idea of seeing what the future brings, but gradually the research career took over and my goals became more focused. I completed my doctoral studies in the DataAI research group at BISG, where I now work as a postdoctoral researcher.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is the diverse range of tasks, challenges, continuous learning, academic atmosphere, and an amazing work community. As a researcher, job tasks never become rigid or repetitive, but always offer new and interesting projects, research areas, and duties. The best thing about this job is also the researcher's freedom to influence their own job tasks.
What have been the highlights and most important lessons of your career?
The first highlight of my career was when my first article was published. Since then, other highlights have included new publications, grants, and work-related trips. Of course, the biggest highlight of my career so far has been completing my doctoral degree. The most important lesson I've learned is that you have to be comfortable with uncertainty. At the beginning of a new application area/project, you can't know everything right away. You learn to trust that solutions to research problems will come gradually.
What are your expectations for the future?
I hope that in the future, there will be even more investment in research and education in Finland. Currently, the competition for research funding is really tough and many good projects go unfunded. I will do my best to make research work more appealing and I hope that more and more young people, especially women, will choose to study in the field of technology so that we can maintain Finland's high level of science.
For whom is this a suitable career option?
A researcher's job is suitable for individuals who are curious, interested in new things, and willing to learn. A researcher's job is a perpetual learning experience - there is always something that you don't know yet, but that you want to find out. The richness of the academic work environment lies in the fact that everyone is treated fairly, encouraged, and respected regardless of gender and personality.
What greetings would you like to send to a young person considering a career choice?
If you have any interest in technology, mathematics, or computer science, don't hesitate to apply to engineering fields. You'll get to make an impact on significant things, as the world will increasingly need advanced technology in various application areas, from industry to healthcare. Believe in yourself, you'll surely succeed!