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On 8 October, 17-year-old Asa-Marie Kultima assumes the role of Aalto University President in the Girls Takeover campaign

At the beginning of October, the ‘Super Week’ for girls, young people and technology will also host a Shaking up Tech event open to all and select the winner of the youth innovation competition.
Asa-Marie Kultima, Aalto-yliopiston rehtorin tehtävän 8.10. valtaava lukiolaistyttö Rovaniemeltä kuvattuna kaupunkinäkymässä. Kuva Aaro Keipi
On 8 October, the 17-year-old Asa-Marie Kultima from Rovaniemi will assume responsibility for the management of Aalto University from the President. She is interested in, for example, natural sciences, climate change and girls’ rights. Photo Aaro Keipi.

Aalto University is participating in Plan International's Girls Takeover campaign, the theme of which this year is girls, technology and equality. On Thursday, October 8, 17-year-old Asa-Marie Kultima will assume responsibility for the management of Aalto University from President Ilkka Niemelä.

During the day, Asa-Marie Kultima will participate in the work of Aalto Management Team and speak to the staff at a community event related to the university’s strategy. She will also visit the Shaking Up Tech event, meet researchers and students, and learn about Aalto University Junior's activities for children and young people.

Together, Asa-Marie Kultima and Aalto University want to encourage girls to take an interest in science and technology and build a diverse society and a sustainable future. According to Ilkka Niemelä, the whole world needs the potential of girls.

‘When girls everywhere get to develop technology, they can influence not only their own future but also the conditions of their community and society and thus be involved in building a better world’, Niemelä says.

‘Solutions for a sustainable future require a new kind of thinking, which requires diverse communities and societies. At Aalto University, we want to build a community that attracts change-makers who view and interpret the world in different ways. That's why we encourage girls and women to boldly take an interest in science and technology.’

I hope that through the takeover we will gain visibility on the subject and break these prejudices.

Asa-Marie Kultima, high school student, Girls Takeover campaign participant

Through the takeover, Asa-Marie Kultima hopes to spark a debate on the role of women in technology.

‘I have occasionally experienced some strange prejudices for my interest in mathematics, chemistry or physics. I think women are fully capable of working on technology, and I hope that through the takeover we will gain visibility on the subject and break these prejudices.’

Studies show that family background influences young people's educational choices. To make equality a reality, it is important to provide technology-related knowledge, experience and learning opportunities for all. Aalto University is committed to reaching girls and women who have no contact with academic life or science and technology as a line of work. Through its Aalto University Junior activities, the university supports the interest of lower secondary school girls in science and technology by offering study and hobby opportunities before university studies.

All seven girls, participants of this year's Girls Takeover campaign by Plan International Finland, in a joint photo
Image: Plan International Finland, 2020

Shaking up Tech shakes up perceptions of the technology industry – open to everyone online 8 October

The super-popular Shaking up Tech event hosted by Aalto University, LUT University and the University of Oulu will also be held on 8 October. This year, the event that encourages young women’s interest in the field of technology will be organised online due to the COVID-19 situation. The event is open to all high school students. The program features inspiring speeches from the field of technology and the business world, and in the student panel, the participants will have the opportunity to talk to those already studying technology. Asa-Marie Kultima and Mimmi Jakola – who will be taking over the role of the Rector of the University of Oulu, Jouko Niinimäki – will also visit the event.

Feedback on the previous years’ events has been highly positive. According to a survey, the event doubled the number of people interested in the field of science and technology among its participants. Almost half of the participants stated that they intend to apply to studies in the field of technology.

Innovations by young people – the Millennium Youth Prize winner to be announced 9 October

The Millennium Youth Prize will culminate in the finals and an award ceremony on Friday 9 October. The aim of the competition organised for the second time jointly by Aalto University and Technology Academy Finland is to inspire the interest of youth under the age of 19 in technology and innovations.

The participants have had a year to solve the sustainable development challenges assigned by Aalto University professors. The topics of the challenge include combating climate change, energy solutions, the potential of the quantum computer, and cleaning plastics from the ocean. The winner will be announced in the online event open to everyone. The winners will receive cash prizes.

Further information and interview requests:

Girls Takeover
Anne Tapanainen
050 434 9711
[email protected]

Shaking up Tech
Marja Niemi
050 430 2084
[email protected]

Millennium Youth Prize
Veli-Matti Ikävalko
050 351 1103
[email protected]

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