From research to politics
Jyrki Kasvi, 53, is a Doctor of Science (Technology), Member of Parliament and member of the City Council of Espoo. He has previously worked as a research and development leader, video game reviewer, and as a researcher at Helsinki University of Technology.
‘I began my studies at the Department of Electrical Engineering, since in 1983 that was where they taught information technology, which was a keen interest of mine as a home computing enthusiast. A year later, they established the Department of Computer Science, and you couldn’t just transfer there directly. You had to apply to it. This, understandably, didn’t do wonders for my study motivation, and my work as an assistant at various technology magazines and as an IT instructor gradually consumed all of my time,’ reminisces Jyrki.
Jyrki was beginning to consider dropping out, but then he participated in an educational activity course, since he wanted to become a better instructor. Thanks to an inspiring teacher and the course’s interesting contents, he became interested in occupational psychology and soon completed most of the courses available on occupational psychology. From there, he quickly transferred to the Department of Industrial Engineering, and after his term paper on computer-assisted work teaching resulted in a grant for a more in-depth report, he soon became a research assistant in occupational psychology and management research.
‘The interface between information technology and occupational psychology proved to be an interesting research area,’ and it soon resulted in a master’s thesis and a dissertation.
Jyrki only has fond memories of his time as a student. Some of his best memories include watching Shogun on TV with his dormmates and making pancakes, as well as the time when he performed Millikan’s oil drop experiment and witnessed a physical constant with his own eyes. Openness and directness proved to be an asset even during his studies.
‘You should always say your wildest ideas out loud, since these can help you learn the most. For example, when I suggested to Professor Veikko Teikari, whose field was in occupational psychology, that we could measure work-related psychological stress by taking blood samples, he didn’t laugh at me but we instead had a long discussion that helped me understand not only the physiological effects caused by psychological stress but also the ethics of occupational psychology,’ Jyrki summarises.