Member stories: do what you love, love what you do

Member stories: do what you love, love what you do

Meet an EAIE member who truly loves what she does. Pauliina Mikkonen, the new Vice-Chair of the EAIE Expert Community Network of European Summer Schools (NESS), shares her story with us. Read about her journey from trainee to programme manager and find out what aspect of her job she finds most rewarding.


What is your role at your institution?

I am working as the programme manager of Helsinki Summer School, an international summer school within the University of Helsinki. I work with a small and innovative team of summer school professionals, with the guidance of our Academic Steering Committee. Over the years I have played a key role in shaping the summer school brand from the beginning, enhancing it from a single project to an established world class academic event. My role has been developing and designing services for the students, teachers and partner universities. I have been in charge of the student selection and recruitment, programme administration, marketing and course planning consultation.

Why did you decide to start working in the field of international higher education?

I started working at the University as a trainee, organising an international conference on the field of my study with a visiting Fulbright professor. I am still working on similar kinds of matters, only with a wider perspective and a much bigger team. I find it very attractive to work with different kinds of people from a variety of cultural backgrounds and worldviews. The field was fascinating to me also because of the core values of learning and personal development.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

It is truly rewarding to get ready for summer school with the whole crew of enthusiastic personnel and innovative teachers, as we work together to prepare services for the incoming students. Service design is something that I found very interesting and important, and I think that it gives meaning both to the whole team and for our students.

What words of wisdom do you have for those starting in the higher education field?

Follow your heart, do what you love, love what you do.

What is a little known fact about you?

I enjoy exploring food recipes.