Name: Jarkko Akkanen
Education: MSc in Biology, PhD in Ecotoxicology
How did you end up studying biology?
I actually started studying chemistry, but took biology as minor. Then I found environmental chemistry and aquatic toxicology from the Department of Biology and realized that this is it. Eventually I graduated from the Department of Biology.
When and why did you decide to become a researcher?
I didn’t. As a teenager I decided not to go to university, well few years later I found myself in the university. Then I decided that I will leave as soon as I get my Master’s, but during my Master thesis work I noticed that this is not too bad actually. I’m still on that path not knowing what I will become when I grow up.
Who is the person that has influenced your career the most?
Well, initially that must be Professor Jussi Kukkonen who (probably in a moment of weakness) thought that I would be suitable for PhD-studies and decided take me to one of his projects.
Why University of Eastern Finland?
Our research area in Aquatic Research in Changing World provides excellent possibilities for cooperation on the research focus that we have right now.
Hard to say, that was something that was totally unknown to me before entering the university, but as said already right away I thought that this is interesting and after that I targeted all studies to ecotoxicology.
What are your working with at the moment?
Well, administration…, facility rearrangements, teaching, and a little bit of research
What do you think is the best part of your work?
If I mention only one thing, it is when you can teach something that is based on our own research. Then you can really deliver something, which goes beyond the written knowledge, to the students and really help them to learn how to solve problems.
What part of your work could you live without?
…quite common answer among scientist: administration….
What do you think is the most important thing you have learned in your work?
How very little I know and understand…
What kind of personalities you need to become a successful researcher?
A real ambition for research.
Can you give us an example of your work day:
07:00 – 09:00 First check e-mails (not enough energy to answer any). After a furious battle I manage to wake up our youngest one, dress and feed him and eventually get him to school.
09:00 – 10:00 At the office, a cup of tea. Evaluation of student papers. A couple of calls about facility rearrangements and department matters in between.
10:00 – 12:30 Meeting of the teaching development group.
12:30 – 13:00 Call back to those that tried to reach you during the meeting and lunch at the same time
13:00 – 14:00 Trying to figure out some questions connected to a research project
14:00 – 15:00 A meeting with a pedagogics study group over coffee
15:00 – 15:45 A call on departmental matters
15:45 – 17:00 Writing a travel grant to participate a scientific meeting
17:00 – 18:30 Have to go home to feed the kids
18:30 – 20:00 Some emails and still trying to write the travel grant (with several interruptions)
P.S. I really managed to submit the travel grant application.