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The 2019 Immersed Professor Encourages Students to Work in the Field of Science by Her Own Example

The Student Union of the University of Eastern Finland (ISYY) has chosen Merja Heinäniemi as the Immersed Professor of 2019. Heinäniemi is an associate professor at the Institute of Biomedicine in the School of Medicine (University of Eastern Finland), and is known among students for her student-friendly attitude and her encouragement to work in the field of science.

Merja Heinäniemi (PhD) has been chosen as the 46th Immersed Professor. Heinäniemi leads multiple biomedicinal research projects at the University of Eastern Finland, works in the cancer research and the Biobank of the Institute of Biomedicine, and counsels researchers and students at different stages of their careers and studies. Students feel that Heinäniemi is easily approachable and very student-friendly.

– Merja Heinäniemi trusts new students unconditionally. She offers students a chance to familiarize themselves with a specific field of biomedicine, which could otherwise be difficult. She is also innovative and has received considerable international funding, the ISYY Executive Board member Aino Peltonen explains the choice.

Heinäniemi also encourages students to work in the field of science by her own example.

– I have tried to remind students that science is an adventure you should not miss, although sometimes you have to accept that one step taken forwards becomes five steps back, says Heinäniemi.  

Heinäniemi comes from Kuopio and graduated from the University of Kuopio in 2007 as a Doctor of Philosophy in biochemistry. She has worked as a researcher in the University of Luxembourg, the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, and the A.I. Virtanen Institute in the University of Eastern Finland, among others, before moving to the UEF School of Medicine in 2014 by Tenure Track. She also holds the title of docent at the University of Turku.

The Student Union has chosen and immersed professors at the May Day eve pool event by the Velj'mies statue since 1974. In 2010, the tradition was passed on from the Kuopio University Student Union to the Student Union of the University of Eastern Finland as the student unions of the Universities of Kuopio and Joensuu merged.

The immersing of the professor is a unique event both in Finland and internationally. The Student Union pool event also includes the washing and capping of the Velj’mies statue, and rewarding the Velj’mies (brother man) and Siskotyttö (sister girl) students of the year.

More Information:

Aleksi Kinnunen, Chairperson of the Executive Board, the Student Union of the University of Eastern Finland (ISYY), tel. 044 576 8404, puheenjohtaja@isyy.fi

The 2019 Immersed Professor:
Merja Heinäniemi, Associate Professor, the University of Eastern Finland, tel. 040 355 3842, merja.heinaniemi@uef.fi

Read More:

Isyy.fi: ISYY's Vappu Celebrations in Kuopio 2019