Meet the new HELSUS intern!


My name is Liinu Esterinen, and I am doing my internship here in HELSUS during this spring and summer of 2024. My responsibilities at HELSUS are mainly focused on Strengthening Sustainability Expertise –project. I will assist for example in developing Sustainability starts with us -course and its course materials, as well as in organizing workshops related to sustainability expertise research. The upcoming Sustainability Science Day conference in June will also be one of the main tasks.

I am currently writing my Bachelor’s thesis and finishing my studies in the Bachelor’s programme of Environmental Sciences. My studies are a multidisciplinary combination of social and environmental sciences as I am minoring in Global Development studies. I am planning to continue my studies in the Master’s Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS). My core interests are global justice, the social dimensions of green transition and a truly fair sustainability transformation. In my free time, I enjoy reading, arts and gardening – I have my own little vegetable garden. I am also active in student organization activities: it is now my second year on the board of the Association of Students in Environmental Sciences – MYY ry. This year I act as a vice chair.

I am very excited about this internship at HELSUS since I find interdisciplinary approaches and sustainability at a systemic level a very fascinating topic. I am particularly interested in conflicts between different dimensions of sustainability, especially the collisions between ecological sustainability and human rights. I am looking forward to learning more about sustainability science in practice and deepening my knowledge on sustainability research and multidisciplinary actions. It is great to get to know the people of HELSUS and learn from them!

Meet the new HELSUS non-military service person Daniel Lindner

Hey everyone! My name is Daniel and I started my non-military civil service here at HELSUS beginning of October 2023, and I will be working at HELSUS for the upcoming 11 months until the end of next summer in 2024. My responsibilities will be diverse including work in communication and coordination as well as possibly filming and editing of videos for HELSUS related research and media content. Additionally, I’ll take part and assist in some projects such as the co-creation lab and the sustainability science days.

A bit about myself, I just graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Maastricht Universities Liberal Arts program. There my studies consisted mostly on environmental studies and psychology, fostering a particular keen interest in the field of environmental psychology and in understanding the complex relations humans have with the environment. Otherwise, I enjoy the outdoors, sports, cooking as well as all sorts of culture in forms of music, dancing, films, books and much more. I am looking forward to meeting all of you to exchange conversations, ideas and thoughts as well as learn new things and gain practical experience in the sustainability field at HELSUS.

The HELSUS interns for the autumn of 2023 – get to know them!

This fall three new people joined the HELSUS community and started their internships each focusing on different types of tasks. Get to know Sonja, Julia and Eero:

Sonja Korhonen

Hello! My name is Sonja Korhonen. I am a new trainee here at HELSUS for the autumn of 2023. I will be assisting in organizing and developing the Sustainability course (SUST-001). 

I’m a student in the General and Adult Education master’s programme in the Faculty of Educational Sciences, with a minor in multidisciplinary environmental studies. I derive great joy from being able to combine my knowledge of adult learning and skill development with the themes of sustainability and the environment. My aim is to help adult learners on their journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle. In my free time, I enjoy reading, swimming, and gardening. 

I am very excited to start my traineeship here at HELSUS and to contribute to a greater cause. It is a dream come true for me. 


Julia Salmi

Hi there! I’m Julia, the communications trainee at HELSUS for the autumn 2023. My responsibilities at HELSUS include everything that has to do with communicating about the activities at HELSUS, such as writing and sharing the monthly newsletter.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Geography, and currently I’m doing my master’s in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability, focusing on development studies and sustainable consumption. I’m especially interested in the social perspective of sustainability and creating community-driven sustainability solutions that contribute to a just society.

Besides the sustainability stuff, I enjoy running, doing pilates, singing and being in nature. I’m really excited to start the internship at HELSUS and begin to learn more about sustainability field in practice.


Eero Ketola

Hi! My name is Eero Ketola and I am a HELSUS trainee for the autumn of 2023. I was previously a non-military serviceman at HELSUS in 2021-2022, and I’m happy to be back working here again! I did my bachelor’s degree in environmental science and I am now on the home stretch of completing my studies in the ECGS master’s programme at the University of Helsinki.

I think HELSUS is a great place to learn loads of new things and apply my skills. I know that some of the perks of the job are contributing productively for sustainability – even if it’s in a small capacity – and meeting new people and I’m very much looking forward to the autumn!

Meet the new HELSUS trainees!

Two new trainees started their internships with HELSUS at the beginning of January. Read their introductions below to get to know them better.


My name is Kaisa Penttinen and I am a new HELSUS trainee for the spring 2023. My responsibilities at HELSUS mostly focus on developing and organizing the Sustainability Course but I am also looking forward to work on various other tasks with my new co-workers. My first experience at HELSUS was attending the Global South Encounters Webinars, which deepened my knowledge about sustainability.  

I am a Master student in the Environmental Change and Global Sustainability program in the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences and starting my master’s thesis in autumn. I have a Bachelor’s degree from Environmental and Food Economics and during my studies I have focused on different sustainability aspects varying from forestry to food industry and economics. In the future I want to be part of creating more sustainable methods for land-use, urban cities and citizens for the next generations. In my free time I love to spend time outdoors in the nature and especially enjoy kayaking, hiking and running. I am very excited to work at HELSUS this spring and to be part of this team and the community. I am looking forward to learn more about sustainability and taking part in creating a more sustainable future.  


I’m Emma Penttinen, this spring’s new communications trainee at HELSUS. I will be working with HELSUS seminars (click here to check them out!), keeping HELSUS social media platforms and the website updated, which means I get to create content as well. In addition, one of the main focuses will be in May as we are going to have a Sustainability Science Day conference, which you will hear more about a bit later! So stay tuned. 😉

I am a student in Food Economy and Consumption, and I am passionate about environmentally sustainable food (sector/system/industry). I am really excited to be working at HELSUS towards more sustainable future and get to know all the delightful colleagues. 😊

As for my free-time activities, I have always been really into photographing, and cooking – I am an enthusiastic sourdough baker and love making kimchi myself! I am curious finding and trying out new vegetarian options to replace meat, so if you have good recipes, let me know! Last year I got introduced to weightlifting and I’m still quite into it. It’s a good way to balance out sitting in front of the computer!

Meet the new project planner at HELSUS!

This January, Pinja started her role as a project planner at HELSUS. Read her introduction below to get to know her better.

Hi everyone! My name is Pinja Tolvanen and I’m a new project planner here at HELSUS. My main responsibility is developing the self-study version of the Sustainability Course, but I’ll be working on other projects as well with our HELSUS team. I got my Master’s degree in Physical Geography in June 2022. In addition to my degree, I have studied General and Adult Education and environmental studies, providing me with a good understanding on the interactions between human and the rest of nature and how to educate people on environmental issues. I’ve also worked in University of Helsinki’s science education for three years focusing on geography education but also various multidisciplinary projects and academic outreach activities.

When it comes to topical sustainability issues it is easy to feel worried and anxious. I believe that the force that drives people forward in solving these issues is hope which promotes agency. This is something that I wish to learn more about as well as how to make learning inspiring and engaging even when covering difficult topics.
In my free time, I enjoy climbing and nature photography, which are not only hobbies but also a way to relax and escape from all the hustle and bustle of city life. I also get easily passionate about new things and two of my new areas of interest are Arduino programming and scents/perfume making. Overall, I´m very happy to start working here at HELSUS, meeting new people and growing my knowledge on sustainability.

Meet the new HELSUS trainees!

Two new trainees and a non-military service person started their internships with HELSUS at the beginning of this fall. Read their introductions below to get to know them better.

Hi! My name is Lina Wilson and I am a new trainee at HELSUS for autumn 2022. I will be working with communication related to HELSUS seminars, social media, website updates and content creation. My background is in Environmental and Marine Biology, currently I’m studying in the ECGS Master’s program. My first experience with HELSUS was working at the Science Sustainability Days conference last Spring as a Student assistant. The sessions and topics were really interesting and it was fun being a bit behind the scenes in arranging the event. Now I get to do that even more which I’m excited about!

In my studies, I’m focusing on Northern Ecosystems and the changes that happen there. I’m passionate about the well-being of nature and want to inspire people around me to think about their relationship with nature and what they can do to create a better world, especially in their everyday life. Therefore I’ve together with a friend created a sustainability account and blog (@klimatkompisar), as well as been part of arranging different climate events at my former University. In my free time, I enjoy horse riding, singing and spending time outdoors. I’m very happy to be here at HELSUS and looking forward to all the new experiences that lie ahead!

Hi and nice to meet you! I’m Mesi Salonmaa and I’m a new HELSUS trainee for fall 2022. My responsibilities at HELSUS are mainly focused on developing, organizing and teaching the Sustainability Course but you might also see me working on various other things during this fall. I’m on my second year of studying General and Adult Education in the faculty of Educational Sciences. In my studies I focus on equality issues in education and social sciences along with environmental sciences. I’ve also obtained a degree on youth work and used to work as a youth leader before starting my Bachelor’s degree at the university. I am still fairly new on the field of sustainability but I’m looking forward to broadening my knowledge and experiences regarding it as well as all the other exciting themes I’ll come across during my time with HELSUS. I want to be part of building a more sustainable future and present day through inclusive and environmentally conscious education. 

I’m the kind of person who gets excited over new things and themes constantly so in my free time I love to indulge in learning about anything that interests me e.g. insectsbiodiversity, video games and education. I paint and draw too, as well as try out new forms of self-expression through music or fiber arts or just anything I find exciting at the moment. I look forward to meeting everyone at HELSUS and getting to work with other people passionate about sustainability. I hope to learn more and have fun this fall as well as be part of making the world even a bit more sustainable along the way.  

Hello! My name is Amos Wallgren and I am the new HELSUS non-military service person for 2022/2023. My responsibilities at HELSUS are mostly focused on coordinating the Co-Creation Lab but I am also looking forward to working on various other tasks with my new co-workers. I’m a master’s student in the Politics and Communication master’s program in the Faculty of Social Sciences. Beside my studies I am a climate justice activist, involved especially in activities pushing for the quick phasing out of fossil fuels with the support of non-violent direct action as well as long term civilizational change, topics on which I have published an essay in the book Viimeinen Siirto (ed. Teemu Vaarakallio, S&S 2021). I also work part time as a policy consultant for eclareon GmbH on renewable energy policy developments in Finland and Sweden with the European Commission as main client.

My interests are found in the intersections of politics, art and philosophy on topics such as political ecology, pacifism, deliberative democracy, the philosophical discourse of modernity, degrowth, pluriverse and systemic alternatives to authoritarian capitalism. Participating in climate camps, reading and cycling are also some of my favorite free-time activities.

Meet the new HELSUS trainees!

Two new trainees started their internships at HELSUS this week in communication and development and organization of sustainability course. Below you can read their introductions and get to know them. 

Hello! My name is Tiia Kolari and I am a new trainee at HELSUS for spring 2022. I will be working with communication related to HELSUS seminars, Sustainability Science Days Conference 2022 and website updates. I am looking forward to the upcoming spring and new, interesting tasks and getting to know my co-workers. My first experience with HELSUS was participation in Co-Creation Lab in spring 2021 in which I enjoyed doing my master’s thesis. The Lab was a great opportunity to go deeper into sustainability issues and co-creation.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, and currently, I am finalizing my studies in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability master program. My studies focus on Global Sustainability with a special interest in consumer citizenship and sustainable transition as well as development studies. Most interesting sustainability topic for me is biodiversity, which is close to my heart, and I am interested in how it can be protected through behavioral change. Recently, I have become interested in political ecology especially regarding biodiversity and resource consumption. I wish to work towards sustainable future where nature is preserved. In my free time, I enjoy horse riding as my hobby and spending time outdoors. During next summer, I hope to start to put together a plant album and gain more knowledge on plant species.

Hello! My name is Salla Lenkola and I am a new HELSUS trainee for spring 2022. My responsibilities at HELSUS are mostly focused on developing and organizing the Sustainability Course but I am also looking forward to working on various other tasks with my new co-workers. I’m a student in the General and Adult Education master’s program in the faculty of Educational Sciences. I did my bachelor’s thesis concerning culturally sustainable education and cultural identity and I am hoping to deepen my knowledge on the same themes as I start my master’s thesis next fall. I have about a year and a half left in my studies and I am also planning to do a semester abroad before I graduate. In the future, I want to help to build a sustainable future for the next generations and make our educational system more inclusive and sustainable in all possible ways.

In my free time I love to spend time outdoors in the nature with friends and family. I also spend a great deal of my time volunteering in the Guides and Scouts leading my own group of Cub Scouts. I am very excited for the spring working at HELSUS and joining the team and the community. I am looking forward to learning more about sustainability work and education and being a part of creating a more sustainable future.

Meet the new trainees!

Three new trainees and one non-military serviceman have started working at HELSUS this week! Here you can get to know the new faces that are working with the sustainability course this autumn.  

My name is Emma-Reeta Käsmä and I will be part of the HELSUS and sustainability course team for the next 5 months as an intern. I’ve lived in Helsinki for a while but originally, I’m from a small town in Northern Ostrobothnia. I’m a student in the Society and Change master program in the faculty of Social Sciences and my major is Economic and Social History. I’m about to begin my master thesis next spring and my current idea is to concentrate on socio-historical aspects of sustainability in the development of public transport systems in Helsinki.  

My main responsibilities as an intern in HELSUS will focus on the development of the Sustainability Course by organising workshops and events in the university and enchaining the communication between different stakeholders of the course. I’m looking forward to these next months. I’m sure it will bring lots of new experiences and interesting viewpoints to sustainability. 

My name is Sini Holopainen, and I am a new HELSUS trainee of autumn 2021. At HELSUS I am looking forward to all the new and interesting tasks with communications, sustainability course, content creating and so on. I have only the thesis and traineeship left in my global sustainability (ECGS) studies, so I hope I will soon become a Master of Social Sciences. From all the sustainability issues I think I’m most interested in learning more about systemic and societal changes towards more sustainable societies, cultures and lifestyles. My wish for the future is that after graduation I can help our planet Earth and its beings to thrive with my work. Working at HELSUS feels like a perfect opportunity, and I am happy about being part of this community that has similar interests and values to me. 

Last spring, I started a new hobby, planting my own vegetable garden. Even though I identify myself more as a social scientist, I am interested in how the ecosystems work and how we can live peacefully with all other beings, including plants. In my life I wish to create a stronger connection with the natural world which I am obviously a part of. I think a stronger bond with the natural world is essential so we can create a more sustainable future in which we all are able to enjoy our unique trip here on Earth. 

Hi! My name is Eero Ketola and I am doing my non-military service at HELSUS for the next eleven months. I did my bachelor’s degree in environmental science, and for the past year I have studied environmental change in the ECGS master’s program, in which I have focused on northern ecosystems and environment and urban studies. I am also interested in the different aspects of sustainability, environmental change and change in society. After graduation I hope to work with sustainability issues and environmental topics, either in research or through other avenues, and I think working at HELSUS is a great opportunity to learn loads of new things and contribute productively. 

I am very much looking forward to working at HELSUS for the next year with many different tasks, including work on the co-creation lab and the sustainability course. The sustainability course is part of an important effort of shedding more light on not only different sustainability issues, but also on what exactly sustainability and its different aspects are. I am excited to be part of this community and team, and I’m looking forward to doing my little part in advancing sustainable change at the university and in society. 

My name is Saara Varis, and I will be working as a HELSUS trainee for the next six months. My responsibilities will be focused on communication tasks such as website and blog updates, social media communication, content creation, and communication related to HELSUS seminars, but I will be working on other tasks as well. 

I did my Bachelor’s degree in Geography, and I am currently studying in the ECGS Master’s program, on the Global Sustainability side. I am in my second year, so I only have less than a year left of my studies. I am passionate about all things sustainability, but my particular interests include sustainability issues related to consumption, food, climate change, as well as sustainable development. Moreover, in my free time I like to be active, especially with my dance hobby, and spend time outdoors with my family dogs and horses. 

I am super excited to have the opportunity to do my internship at HELSUS and I cannot wait to really get started with the job and my diverse tasks. I look forward to learning more about sustainability-related work, communications, and HELSUS operations. It is truly inspiring to be able to work with the things I am sincerely passionate about and with people who share this same passion for sustainability! I believe we can do wonderful things together and advance a sustainability transition. 

Get to know our new trainees!

It is time to thank the old trainees Lotta, Arttu and Heidi and introduce new faces that will start working with the sustainability course. Sometimes it is too easy to forget how much work and effort there is behind each magnificent project so to say the least these triplets’ work has been indispensable. You all will be greatly missed, and it’s been truly a pleasure to work with you and get to know you!

Here are our new people working with university’s sustainability course:


I am Meri Mäkelä. Two years ago I moved from northern Finland to the countryside of Viikki to study in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability master’s programme. Currently I am working on my thesis about ecosystems and long-term climate change in the Arctic. In my studies, I have especially focused on arctic studies, sustainable forestry and changing environments, but I have also gained a wider interest in sustainability themes in general. My main responsibilities in this course planning will be to work with the groups producing content for the thematic modules. Also as a former biology and geography teacher, the pedagogical side of sustainability teaching interest me. I am super excited about this project! It is an amazing opportunity to be a part of the team developing so important course. I am looking forward to meet the working groups, start developing the material and learn more about sustainability!


My name is Ville-Pekka Niskanen (Viltsu in short) and I am currently conducting my non-military service at HELSUS. In the sustainability course development, I will take part in communicating about the course and content production. Moreover, I’m working with University of Helsinki sustainability initiatives, HELSUS communications and events. I come from the ECGS Master’s Programme, where I have focused on science and technology studies. Music and photography are my hobbies.

Last year, I participated in a project , where we interviewed five students about sustainability. The interviewees found that sustainability is not only about the environmental or economic aspects that often receive the most attention. Equality, friendships, and finding and accepting new viewpoints are central, too. This way sustainability is present in our everyday actions, in addition to the enormous changes that are soon necessary. I view the sustainability course as an opportunity to give its participants (all of our students!) tools for acting for sustainability – understanding and friendliness – in their future tasks.


Hi! My name is Saara Pörsti and I’m super excited to work with this project for the next five months! This fall starts my second year in Environmental change and global sustainability master’s programme (ECGS) and in my studies I’m focusing on sustainable cities and sustainable development. I also have a minor in adult education, so I’m thrilled to challenge what I’ve learned there so far considering this course project.

During my HELSUS traineeship I will take part in communications, event organizing and developing the sustainable course. In detail, my responsibility areas considering this course are content production, communications and I will also take part in managing the groups that will start working during September. This course offers a great deal of new learning experiences and I’m truly looking forward what kind of new visions might occur during this fall when the teams gather.