The main responsibility of Veli-Matti Ikävalko is to coordinate and develop the activities of the LUMA Centre at Aalto University and Lumarts. Heta Närhi is the LUMA liaison for the School of Electrical Engineering. Similar school liaisons are being planned for other Aalto schools.
The LUMA Centre at Aalto University has made an administrative move from the School of Electrical Engineering to the School of Chemical Technology. The laboratory facilities are still located at Otakaari 7 for now, but they will move to a new address, Kemistintie 1 (wing B), in the autumn of 2017. Pirjo Putila will continue as a part-time designer.
Who are you, Heta Närhi?
I graduated as a Master of Science in Technology at the School of Electrical Engineering in the autumn, with signal processing as my major. Already as a student I worked part time at LUMA. I directed and designed course work especially linked with the use of Arduino, as well as physics, and programming.
Who are you, Veli-Matti Ikävalko?
I graduated as a Master of Science in Chemical Technology in Otaniemi ten years ago. After that I got my qualification as a teacher, and my doctoral dissertation on how LUMA activities promote learning is under preparation at the University of Helsinki. I have worked as a teacher at the Olari General Upper Secondary School and in various tasks at the LÚMA Centre Finland and the LUMA Centre of the University of Helsinki in Kumpula.
What are your tasks at the LUMA Centre at Aalto University?
Heta: My main tasks include the development of operations. I participate both in general development, and especially in the development of work involving the School of Electrical Technology. On the practical level this means doing sensible and multidisciplinary tasks by utilising Arduino, physics, and programming for instance. In addition, I seek to develop student marketing by bringing technology into everyday life and by developing study modules which allow school pupils and university students to learn about Aalto's study options through practice.
Veli-Matti: My main task is to coordinate and develop the activities of the LUMA Centre at Aalto University and Lumarts, for which extensive potential exists at Aalto. The activity here is strongly based on functional study visits, key courses, and existing areas of focus. We will certainly hold on to that, but new openings are emerging as well. I am especially interested in knocking down barriers between the basic sciences, such as chemistry, physics, and mathematics. At Aalto, I am fascinated by the inclusion of the engineering sciences, economics and business administration. We are currently working on short-term and long-term plans.
What action do you plan on taking to develop the activities of the LUMA Centre at Aalto University?
Heta: I hope to inspire girls to go into science and technology both through my own example, and by bringing them interesting tasks that utilise technology. On my courses I seek to encourage people of all ages to experiment, because trial and error are an important part of the learning process. My aim is to integrate LUMA activities so that they would become a genuine part of the school world, by making it easily approachable both for teachers and pupils with the help of easy participation and technology that is integrated into society. I feel that it is important to teach young people that technology is a valuable tool in today's society in absolutely every single profession.
Veli-Matti: The most important part of teaching is for pupils to see through real life the great opportunities that science, technology, and art have to offer. Science and mathematics are linked with many ordinary, everyday things. When pupils get to try things themselves, they no longer see them as very difficult. My aim is to bring a pedagogical point of view into all of the activities of LUMA Centre at Aalto University and Lumarts, and to make our courses and our different study excursions memorable and enjoyable experiences.
In the photo Heta and Veli-Matti are examining robots recently acquired for the courses as they think about what kind of course work they could be used for.