Best Mentor Award 2015: A new annual tradition by ILS

It’s hard to describe what qualities a good mentor should have. When famous modern age photographer Ansel Adams was asked what role his father Charles Hitchcock Adams played in his life as a mentor, he credited him for “tenderly keeping alive his inner spark.”

In search of the best mentors, the ILS doctoral program asked its students to describe how they think their mentors fare and what these qualities are. On December 11th 2015, at its Seasonal party, the ILS doctoral program announced the award for ‘Best Mentor of the Year 2015’ . Out of 5 nominations, Docent Mikaela Grönholm was chosen by the ILS Student Council as the first recipient of this award, based on the testimonial written by the nominating student. Mikaela was described as “having a friendly personality, approachable, supporting and at the same time (she’s) hard, strict and teaches us how to deal with struggles and helps you find your own ways”. Other nominees which included Katarina Pelin (Viikki), Ville Hietakangas (Viikki), Krister Wennerberg (FIMM) and Peter Hackman (Biomedicum) were also acknowledged and felicitated at the event.


Mikaela or ‘Mikku’ as she is adoringly called by her students and colleagues, gave a brief acceptance speech including a few advises to the students:

  • Try to talk about science.
  • Try to find something that fascinates you in the research.
  • Be organized and if you think you already are than be more organized.
  • Ask for help. You are not supposed to do everything own your own. It’s okay to fail and try to learn from it.
  • Have fun and spend time with your colleagues and friends because friendships are important.

The ILS doctoral program wishes her heartiest congratulations and good luck for future. The ILS doctoral program is also proud to be initiating such a tradition among its students which encourages them to nominate their mentors highlighting a positive mentor-protégé relationship.