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Planning Officer Elli Hämäläinen and Aalto University received honorary mention for promotion of dual careers for athletes

The honorary mention was awarded by the Finnish Olympic Committee's Sports Academy Programme and the URA Foundation.
Timo Saarinen, Juha Dahlström, Elli Hämäläinen ja Timo Korkeamäki
Elli Hämäläinen received a certificate of honour from URHEA’s Juha Dahlström for promoting the dual careers of athletes. Dean Korkeamäki and Professor Saarinen also participated in the small-scale award ceremony. Photo: Roope Kiviranta / Aalto

Elli Hämäläinen, Planning Officer of Learning Services at the School of Business, has in recent years carried out valuable work at Aalto University to promote dual careers for athletes. This work aims to ensure that the combining of goal-oriented sports with studies can be achieved in an effective and balanced way. Elli Hämäläinen's valuable work in support of dual careers for athletes has now been recognised, and as a mark of this the Finnish Olympic Committee's Sports Academy Programme and the URA Foundation awarded her an honorary mention.

‘Work to enable dual careers does credit to Finnish sport. In order to reach world-class level and to keep going through years of hard work, many athletes also need challenges outside of their sport. Combining sports and studies supports the achievement of results provided that the studies are arranged to fit the demands of the sport,’ says Juha Dahlström, URHEA top sports coordinator for the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

URHEA was launched in 2003 as the official top sports academy approved by the Finnish Olympic Committee. The academy works in close cooperation with the top sports unit of the Olympic Committee, and the Urhea Foundation provides background support.

Excellent teamwork brings results

Elli Hämäläinen's work in promoting dual careers for athletes has included leading the Aalto URHEA team. The team has comprised Elli and the URHEA coordinators for the six Aalto schools: Virpi Riissanen (School of Engineering), Niina Arppe (School of Chemical Engineering), Tiina Kerola (School of Science), Piia Ylitalo (School of Electrical Engineering) and Naoko Nakagawa (School of Arts, Design and Architecture). Elli Hämäläinen and her team have put together two 3-credit courses for URHEA athletes, with the courses being led by former Associate Dean of the School of Business, Professor Timo Saarinen.

‘It is moving to receive this honorary mention. It has been interesting and rewarding to be involved in developing dual careers together with our team, and it is great to receive such recognition for Aalto and for our work. We are well-placed to continue the process and develop things further,’ says Elli Hämäläinen.

The prize was announced in Tampere on 17 September during the annual seminar on dual careers in top sports. Juha Dahlström from URHEA then presented the award to Elli Hämäläinen at a coffee event held at the School of Business on 21 October.

The School of Business's development work in recent years also includes the step taken in 2019 when the school made it possible for 12 students to enter the Bachelor's degree programme on special grounds each year. Sports achievements are one of the eligible reasons for applying to the School of Business for these specially reserved places.

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