Reetta Hassinen brings ecological clothes onto the market: "During my studies, I realised that I could play a role in solving big global problems"
How did you end up studying chemical engineering at Aalto University?
"In high school I thought I would become a lawyer. I was pretty good at everything, but I didn't have a favourite subject or any clear area where I would have excelled. It seemed difficult to choose what I would do when I graduated. I had chosen a basic syllabus in maths in high school, but I liked chemistry a lot. It was a bit of a fluke that I decided to apply to study chemical engineering. It wasn't until I got accepted that I realised what all I could do with this education."
What was it like to study at the School of Chemical Engineering?
"Studying Chemical Engineering was really fun, broad-ranging and practical. I thought we would be sitting in the library reading all the time, but in addition to the lectures, the studies included practical exercises such as calculations, laboratory lessons and visits to real factories and plants where chemical engineering is used in practice. It was nice to get to know about the job opportunities already during my studies.
I was active in the student community, where I also met some of my best friends. Student activities gave me good networks for the working world, and I learned a surprising number of other useful things, such as how to hold association meetings or organise events for 200 people."
What kind of work have you done in your career?
"Already during my summer brakes, I got to try out different jobs in the industry. I worked several summers at Fortum exploring the possibilities of using wood and bioeconomy residues as new raw materials. After graduating, I worked for the management consultancy McKinsey, where I helped companies in the chemical and process industries to develop their business. I got to work on issues such as strategy and sustainable development, both in Finland and abroad.
Now I am developing business at Spinnova, a Finnish textile fibre company that produces ecological textile fibres from renewable raw materials. My work at Spinnova includes strategy development, marketing, communication and cooperation projects with our customers and NGOs. My job is a combination of technical and commercial skills, and I also get to use my creative side at work, for example in designing product launches."
Reetta Hassinen, Business Development Specialist, Spinnova
The coolest thing about my studies was that I was given practical tools to solve environmental problems and climate change.
Why is your work important?
"My job is helping to address sustainability issues in the textile sector and to enable sustainable and ecological textiles to be made available in shops. The best thing about my job is that I get to work every day towards a sustainable future."
What kind of skills has studies in chemical engineering given you?
"I didn't realise in high school that I could play such a role in solving global problems. Although the chemical industry still produces a lot of emissions, chemical engineering can really help solve some of the biggest problems of today. Many of the courses develop problem-solving skills that are important at work when creating new environmentally friendly solutions.
The coolest thing about my studies was that I was given practical tools to solve environmental problems and climate change. This motivated me throughout my studies. Chemical engineering gives you the skills to deeply understand climate change and its solutions down to the molecular level. You get to learn about different materials such as plastics, textiles and food. Studying chemical engineering opens a huge variety of fields and prepares you with knowledge needed for a successful career."
What greetings would you like to send to young people who are considering their choice of studies?
"Don't stress too much about choosing where to study, you will figure it out! Young people are often under pressure to find their own path straight away. I used to stress a lot about finding the right place to study in upper secondary school, but I found my path a bit unexpectedly - and I'm not the only one who has. It's good to remember that studying in your field doesn't always have to feel like fun. I believe that every field of study has its boring courses. The most important thing is to find something in your chosen field of study that motivates and inspires you in the long term."
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School of Chemical Engineering combines natural sciences and engineering to refine research results and put them into practice as sustainable innovations.